'Huge vindication': Jan. 6 committee members say Trump indictment in line with their findings

One lawmaker said the charges are "consistent" with those the panel recommended.

August 2, 2023, 3:41 PM

Lawmakers who spent more than a year investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol are saying the new indictment against former President Donald Trump is in line with what they uncovered and presented to the public.

"This does feel like a huge vindication of the rule of law and the work of the Jan. 6 committee to establish the factual narrative of what took place in the attempt to overthrow a presidential election by a president," Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin, a member of the House Jan. 6 select committee, said Tuesday on "GMA 3" in response to the indictment.

Former Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of two Republicans on the committee, said the indictment is "the beginning of justice."

"On the 1/6 Committee, we uncovered proof that Donald Trump not only knew what was happening at the Capitol but encouraged it. He is a cancer on our democracy," Kinzinger said.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif, called the indictment "the most consequential as it goes to the heart of a president's attempt to interfere with the peaceful transfer of power for the first time in our nation's history."

"These charges -- based in large part on evidence we uncovered through our work on the January 6th Committee -- and the trial that will follow, will put our democracy to a new test: Can the rule of law be enforced against a former president and current candidate for president? For the sake of our democracy, we must hope that the answer is 'yes,'" Schiff said in a statement.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing. He continues to insist that the 2020 vote was rigged and, speaking to ABC News on Tuesday, described the latest charges as a "pile-on" and "election interference."

Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, who chaired the House Jan. 6 select committee, said the criminal charges brought by special counsel Jack Smith are "consistent" with those the panel referred to the Department of Justice last year.

Some members of the committee have previously said they believed their work put pressure on the Justice Department to hold Trump and other top figures accountable.

“I think those hearings we held put significant pressure on the Department of Justice to come forward," Thompson told MSNBC on Saturday.

Smith brought a total of four charges against Trump in connection with his plot to remain in power after his 2020 election loss, two of which were recommended by the panel: conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and obstruction of an official proceeding.

However, the indictment did not include the committee's recommendation that Trump, who has denied wrongdoing, be charged with incitement of insurrection or with conspiracy to make a false statement.

Smith's charges also notably include conspiring against people’s constitutional rights, which the House committee didn't recommend.

Ahead of Tuesday's indictment, former Republican Rep. Liz Cheney told ABC News' Jonathan Karl in 2022 that while bringing charges against Trump would be unprecedented, not doing so would pose a "much graver constitutional threat."

"I have greater concern about what it would mean if people weren’t held accountable for what’s happened here," Cheney said. "I think it’s a much graver constitutional threat if a president can engage in these kinds of activities and, you know, the majority of the president's party looks away or we as a country decide, you know, we're not actually going to take our constitutional obligations seriously."

Cheney has not given a public statement about Tuesday's charges. ABC News has reached out for comment.

The House panel spent 18 months probing what happened after the election and on Jan. 6, 2021, and came to the conclusion that Trump was the "central cause" of the insurrection.

Much of what was laid out in the 45-page indictment was presented to the American people during the course of the Jan. 6 committee's public hearings -- 10 in total -- which culminated in the historic criminal referrals.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump appears on the screen during a hearing by the House Select Committee to investigate the January 6th attack on the US Capitol, in Washington, D.C., on July 21, 2022.
President Donald Trump appears on the screen during a hearing by the House Select Committee to investigate the January 6th attack on the US Capitol, in Washington, D.C., on July 21, 2022.
Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The committee interviewed local officials in Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and other states where Trump's team challenged the results about the "fake electors" plot to change the outcome of the election despite investigations finding there was not widespread fraud during the 2020 election.

Arizona's Rusty Bowers, for example, in live testimony recalled how a member of Trump's team told him, "We don't have the evidence, but we have lots of theories" -- a quote also cited in the indictment.

The panel also interviewed former Trump administration officials who testified about his pressure campaign on the Department of Justice and on former Vice President Mike Pence, issues that were a key focus of the indictment.