By Joseph Green-Bishop
Texas Metro News Correspondent
For the first time in the history of the nation Congress has recommended criminal charges be levied against a president and representative Bennie Thompson, a Democratic Congressman from Mississippi, guided the special congressional committee.
After an 18-month investigation that included hundreds of witnesses and nine public hearings, the Thompson-led committee recommended that Trump be charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S government, inciting an insurrection, obstruction of an official proceeding and making false statements to government officials.
The final decision as to whether Trump will be criminally charged is in the hands of Attorney General Merrick Garland. The congressional recommendation, however, is not binding on the Attorney General.
Not since the televised Watergate Hearings in 1973, has a congressional committee and its chair, received the amount of newspaper coverage and television exposure as Thompson’s committee which was created in July of 2021. An estimated 20 million television viewers tuned into the first January 6 hearing which aired in July of last year.
Eighteen million people viewed the final televised hearing. The committee made its final report on December 21, 2022.
Then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appointed nine members to the committee and made Congressman Thompson its chair of the committee consisting of seven Democrats and two Republicans. Congressman Thompson appointed Wyoming Republican Liz Cheney as the committee’s vice chairperson.
Under Thompson’s leadership the committee investigated the circumstances around, and individuals involved in the planning and implementation of the attack on Congress by thousands of armed insurgents on January 6, 2001.
A graduate of Tougaloo College, he is the longest-serving African American elected official in the State of Mississippi; having also served as an alderman and mayor of his hometown, Bolton.
After looking at all the evidence and consulting hundreds of witnesses, Congressman Thompson said that he and members of the committee were convinced that President Trump played a “nefarious role” in the insurrection which resulted in nine deaths, and more than 100 injuries to law enforcement officers who were protecting the Capitol.
“We are convinced that Donald Trump is the reason that January 6 occurred,” said Congressman Thompson, a former Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. “He invited extremists to Washington whose only role was to stop the orderly transfer of power.”
He added that the committee concluded that Trump had misused the Justice Department and other government assets to intimidate the Congress into ignoring the fact that President Joe Biden was the rightful winner of the 2020 presidential election.
Trump, who lost the election, wanted to remain in power, Congressman Thompson said.
In addition to Congressman Thompson and Congresswoman Cheney, other members of the committee included Congressman Adam Schiff from California, Congressman Jamie Raskin from Maryland, Congresswoman Elaine Luria from Virginia, Congressman Pete Aguilar from California, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren from California, Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy from Florida, and Congressman Adam Kinzinger from Illinois.