The US congressional committee into the Capitol Hill riots on January 6, 2021, has recommended that former President Donald Trump be barred from holding office in its final report released on Thursday.
The 814-page document provides an account of Trump's efforts to overturn the election results based on more than 1,000 interviews over a 16-month period.
It also outlines 11 recommendations for Congress, the Justice Department and other authorities to prevent such an incident from reoccurring.
"The President of the United States inciting a mob to march on the Capitol and impede the work of Congress is not a scenario our intelligence and law enforcement communities envisioned for this country," panel chair Bennie Thompson said. "Prior to January 6th, it was unimaginable."
Trump violated Fourteenth Amendment, panel says
The Fourteenth Amendment of the US constitution states that individuals who have taken an oath to support the constitution can be disqualified from holding office again if they are found to have "engaged in an insurrection" or given "aid or comfort to the enemies of the constitution."
On Monday, the committee referred Trump to the Justice Department on these very charges. A conviction could make it much more difficult for him to win the White House again in the future.
Trump is the first — and so far only — Republican to announce his candidacy to run for president in 2024.
One of the 11 recommendations in the final report released on Thursday is for Congress to create a formal mechanism to investigate whether individuals mentioned in the document should be prevented from holding office under the Fourteenth Amendment.
"The Committee believes that those who took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution and then, on January 6th, engaged in insurrection can appropriately be disqualified and barred from holding government office — whether federal or state, civilian or military," the report read.
What else did the panel recommend?
Other recommendations include combating violent extremism, beefing up security at key congressional events, and increasing federal penalties for people who make certain threats against election workers.
It also recommends an overhaul of the Electoral Count Act to protect the popular vote in each state from manipulation and ensure that Congress can not arbitrarily decide the outcome of presidential elections.
This measure has already been included in the mammoth end-of-year spending bill that was passed by the Senate on Thursday. It will now go to the House a final vote
In comments posted on his Truth Social network on Thursday, Trump dismissed the "highly partisan" report as a "witch hunt."
zc/wd (AP, Reuters)