The House committee investigating January 6 is considering whether former President Donald Trump obstructed Congress, Politico reports.
Rep. Liz Cheney, the Republican vice-chair of the panel, twice this week raised the prospect of whether Trump’s conduct during the deadly Capitol riot could qualify as obstruction of Congress’ certification of President Joe Biden’s victory.
“Did Donald Trump, through action or inaction, corruptly seek to obstruct or impede Congress’ official proceeding to count electoral votes?” Cheney asked. “Mark Meadows' testimony is necessary to inform our legislative judgments.”
Cheney made the statement ahead of a House vote to hold Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff, in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with its subpoena.
Obstruction requires prosecutors to show that a defendant affected an “official proceeding” and acted with “corrupt” intent. Several Capitol rioters have been charged with obstructing an official proceeding, which carries up to 20 years in prison.
Cheney’s suggestion that “inaction” could violate the obstruction statute is “among the broadest interpretations” of the law, Politico notes. A judge would have to look at whether Trump’s actions may have been technically “lawful” even if they were done with “corrupt” intent.
It’s unclear if the Justice Department is looking at any aspects of Trump’s actions on January 6.
“I think that we're trying to understand those 187 minutes that he didn't say anything — what that means. And we're trying to put some more light on that. I personally am not drawing any conclusions on where that takes us,” said committee member Pete Aguilar.
Ex-campaign manager subpoenaed:
Former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale told The Daily Beast on Thursday that he is the latest Trump aide subpoenaed by the committee.
“All of this makes me think they want me to turn on him,” he said.
Parscale was fired before the 2020 election but he told Fox News in December that the campaign planned to stoke unfounded fears of “rampant voter fraud.”
“In April of 2019, I sat down with my team, and I said, let’s come up with the biggest Election Day operation ever, because voter fraud is going to be rampant,” he said at the time, adding that “if it’s not going to be rampant, everyone’s going to think it’s rampant. Or they’re going to game it.”