Multiple legal analysts noted how Rep Liz Cheney used incredibly particular legal language that might open the door to a criminal referral for former president Donald Trump for his actions during the Capitol riot on 6 January.
Ms Cheney, who serves as the vice chairwoman of the select committee investigating the Capitol riot, made the remarks during the committee’s vote to hold former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in contempt of Congress and after she read a series of text exchanges between Mr Meadows and Mr Trump’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr and various Fox News hosts.
“Did Donald Trump, through action or inaction, corruptly seek to obstruct or impede Congress’s proceedings?” Ms Cheney said.
Harvard Law School professor emeritus Laurence Tribe noted that Ms Cheney’s words specifically referred to US Code 1505.
The code specifically says that “Whoever corruptly, or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication influences, obstructs, or impedes or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede the due and proper administration of the law under which any pending proceeding is being had before any department or agency of the United States, or the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which any inquiry or investigation is being had by either House, or any committee of either House or any joint committee of the Congress” should be fined under the law and potentially imprisoned.
CNN’s Elie Honig made a similar note to host John Berman.
The select committee voted unanimously to approve a report recommending Mr Meadows be held in contempt of Congress. The House will vote on Tuesday whether to refer such a charge to the Justice Department. This came after Mr Meadows defied a congressional subpoena from the committee after initially cooperating.
“He has not claimed and does not have any privilege basis to refuse entirely to testify regarding these topics,” Ms Cheney said during the vote Monday evening. Ms Cheney revealed text exchanges Mr Meadows had between Mr Trump’s eldest son and Fox News hosts Brian Kilmeade, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity.
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