Innocent Odoh, Agency Reports
There appears no end to the trouble facing former United States President Donald Trump even after his acquittal in a Senate impeachment trial on a charge of “incitement of insurrection” in the attack on US Capitol on January 6.
Legislators have called for an independent commission, with Trump still facing possible criminal charges for the US Capitol riot as both parties in the Congress have since increasingly called for a commission like that created after the 9/11 attacks.
Trump’s actions and words leading up to the deadly January 6 violence, in which rioters stormed the seat of the US legislature as Congress met to certify the election victory of President Joe Biden, garnered more bipartisan support for conviction than any previous Senate impeachment trial.
Notably, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, long considered one of Trump’s closest allies, suggested such a commission is needed “to find out what happened and make sure it never happens again”.
“His behaviour after the election was over the top,” Graham, who voted to acquit Trump, told Fox News on Sunday.
An independent commission, which would need to be created through legislation, could determine “what was known, who knew it and when they knew, all that, because that builds the basis so this never happens again”, while removing the tinge of partisan politics, Republican Senator Bill Cassidy, who voted to convict Trump and has since been censured by the party in Louisiana, told ABC News.
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had already floated such a commission to colleagues before Trump’s acquittal, with several prominent Democrats in the Senate renewing the push in the wake of the trial.
In an interview with ABC News, Democrat Representative Madeleine Dean called for “an impartial commission, not guided by politics, filled with people who would stand up to the courage of their conviction”.
The ranking Democrats and Republicans of two Senate committees – the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Rules Committee – had previously announced plans to probe the incident.
In the House, where several committees are probing the violence, Pelosi has also asked retired army Lieutenant General Russel Honore to lead an immediate review of the Capitol’s security process.
Trump could also face more imposing trouble in any criminal cases filed against him as local and federal authorities continue to probe the violence, as well as civil cases filed by those affected by the riot.
As a private citizen, Trump is no longer protected from legal liability, as he was when in office, and could be charged with inciting the riot. Such a federal charge would need prosecutors to prove that Trump knew his words and actions would lead to violence – a high standard established in a 1969 Supreme Court ruling that overturned the conviction of a Ku Klux Klan leader.