January 6 committee members say they believe Trump was responsible for the riot and the panel might unanimously refer him for prosecution

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  • Reps. Adam Schiff and Liz Cheney spoke out Sunday about their Capitol-riot investigation.

  • They said they both believed Donald Trump committed wrongdoing.

  • They added the panel would give a unanimous verdict on whether to refer Trump for prosecution.

Two of the most senior members of the House select committee investigating January 6, 2021, said they believed President Donald Trump committed wrongdoing in relation to the riot but said that the committee would act unanimously when it decided whether to refer the former president for prosecution.

Reps. Adam Schiff, a Democratic member of the committee, and Liz Cheney, a Republican, discussed the investigation in separate interviews over the weekend. The panel is due to resume its public hearings on Wednesday.

Schiff said he would make his decision align with the rest of the committee so that the committee acted unanimously, even though he said Trump should be referred.

"We operate with a high degree of consensus and unanimity," Schiff told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union" Sunday. "It will be certainly, I think, my recommendation, my feeling, that we should make referrals, but we will get to a decision as a committee, and we will all abide by that decision. And I will join our committee members if they feel differently."

Schiff added: "I do agree there have been several laws broken, and it is, I think, apparent that there is evidence that Donald Trump was involved in breaking several of those laws.

"When Congress does find evidence that people have broken the law, it is not always the case that it makes a referral, but in circumstances like these, I think that's the better part of the argument."

In an interview with The Texas Tribune, Cheney expressed the same sentiment.

Cheney, who was ousted earlier this year from her Wyoming congressional seat over her participation in the investigation, said Trump had been closely involved in the plot to overturn the 2020 election.

"One of the things that has surprised me the most about my work on this committee is how sophisticated the plan was that Donald Trump was involved in and oversaw every step of the way," Cheney said. "It was a multipart plan that he oversaw, he was involved in personally and directly."

She added: "I think we will be unanimous. In whatever action we take, we will be unanimous."

When the committee concludes its investigation, which was launched more than a year ago, it will decide whether to refer Trump for prosecution by the Justice Department. It is expected to do so before the November midterms, Reuters reported.

The Justice Department is conducting its a separate investigation into the riot, which has recently touched on Trump's inner circle of aides.

The committee held dramatic public hearings over the summer, when it heard how Trump for months after his 2020 election defeat pushed baseless claims that victory had been stolen from him, despite the fact he knew, or ought to have known, that his claims were false.

A former White House aide described how Trump sought to lead a mob to the Capitol that he knew to be armed and watched the violence unfold on TV when he returned to the White House as he resisted the entreaties of allies to try and quell the unrest.

Committee members have previously given mixed signals about whether Trump will be referred for prosecution, with Rep. Bennie Thompson saying in June that the panel would not refer the former president for prosecution. He was met with resistance from other committee members.

Trump has denied wrongdoing in relation to the riot but has lauded the rioters. He's also said he would be open to pardoning those convicted over their roles in the riot if he was reelected president.

Read the original article on Business Insider