A noted constitutional expert has taken issue with the Democrat-controlled January 6 committee after members voted to recommend to Joe Biden’s Justice Department three criminal charges against former President Donald Trump. The panel claims that Trump was criminally responsible for the riot at the U.S. Capitol Building in January 2021, but Jonathan Turley disagrees.
WATCH the final J6 hearing video:
Turley, a professor at George Washington University Law School, said, however, there simply is no “compelling criminal case.” “The committee repackaged largely the same evidence that it has previously put forward over the past year. That is not enough. Indeed, the reliance on a new videotape of former Trump aide Hope Hicks seems a case of putting ‘hope over experience’ in the criminal justice system,” he explained.
He noted members like Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who long claimed he had seen evidence of the “collusion” with Russia by the 2016 Trump campaign, a conspiracy theory that long since has been debunked, insist that the committee presented “new evidence” of crimes.
Instead, Turley said, “The committee continued its pattern of rehashing previously known evidence with network-quality videotapes.” “The failure of the committee to offer any new and direct evidence of criminal conduct was obvious at the outset. Vice Chair Liz Cheney began her remarks by again detailing what Trump failed to do. It was a repeat of the prior hearings and for some likely left the impression of actors who are refusing to leave the stage long after the audience departed.”
The “one piece” of new evidence was a statement for former aide Hope Hicks, but it ended up being “duplicative,” Turley offered.
“The fact is that the J6 Committee failed to change many minds largely because of what was on display in the final public meeting. It was the same highly scripted, one-sided account repeated mantra-like for months. There is justifiable anger over these accounts, but this hearing was billed as presenting the case for criminal charges. It missed that mark by a considerable measure,” he concluded.
He went on to cite additional comments that Trump could be charged with attempted murder or manslaughter. “The problem is that crimes actually require satisfaction of underlying elements and cannot be proven by soundbite or desire alone,” he said.
The only person who died as a direct result of riot-related violence on Jan. 6 was Ashly Babbitt, an Air Force veteran who was shot and killed by a plainclothes Capitol Police lieutenant. The other deaths reported as being related to the riot were from natural causes, not the riot itself.