To impeach Trump or not for the assault on Capitol Hill? A dilemma fraught with consequences

Should Donald Trump be prosecuted for his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 US presidential election?

The question hangs over Washington after the series of hearings of the House of Representatives committee that investigated the assault on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 that left five dead.


The response, moreover, is urgent given that Trump, 76, has hinted at wanting to run for the White House again in 2024.

The decision essentially rests with Attorney General Merrick Garland.

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Here’s a look at the potential charges — and political fallout — Garland will have to weigh if he decides to impeach Trump:

The potential charges

During eight televised public hearings, the House of Representatives committee laid out a roadmap to potentially be followed by the Justice Department:

Trump knew he had lost the election – his advisers told him so and his legal moves were going nowhere – but he continued to insist that Democrat Joe Biden “stole” his victory.

Photo /AFP

Trump pressured election officials in Georgia to “find” the votes he needed to win and tried to force then-Vice President Mike Pence not to certify election results at a congressional ceremony on January 6, 2021.

Trump summoned his supporters in Washington and invited them to “fight with everything” in a fiery speech near the White House.

Then, he sat back for three hours and watched on television as his loyal supporters violently attacked Capitol Hill in an attempt to block the certification of Biden’s victories.

Legal analysts say Trump could face at least two charges: “conspiracy to defraud the United States” for seeking to overturn election results, and “obstruction of official proceedings” for the attack on Capitol Hill.

That last charge is the one that has been charged the most against hundreds of Trump supporters who were arrested for breaking into the Congress hall.