Aziz Huq Writes About the Jan. 6 Committee’s Criminal Referrals

The Criminal Referrals Against Trump Should Be a Beginning, Not an End

In the end, the insurrection was just the back-up plan. That’s one critical finding by the Jan. 6 select committee to keep in mind when digesting its sweeping criminal referrals of Donald Trump.

The former president floated the idea of marching on the Capitol with a “large and wild crowd” only after his White House advisers and lawyers aggressively tried to quash a quilt of crazy schemes to use federal courts, election administrators, state legislators and ersatz presidential electors to thwart the lawful, peaceful transfer of power. It was a last-ditch resort. And the violence of Jan. 6 would have had its intended effect only if some of those legal machinations had already put enough sand in the gears of the democratic process.

For understandable reasons, Rep. Liz Cheney’s opening remarks at Monday’s final committee meeting drew attention to Trump’s fatal inaction in the minutes around the insurrectionists’ violent entry to the Capitol. Chairman Bennie Thompson likewise started his montage with that day’s violence before working backward to set forth in crisp detail its larger context.

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