Members of Maine's congressional delegation weigh in on Jan. 6 committee report
Maine's two Democratic U.S. House members responded Monday to the Jan. 6 committee's criminal referral against President Donald Trump.
The special committee investigating the events surrounding Jan. 6, 2021, is recommending that Trump be charged with four crimes, including inciting or assisting an insurrection, obstruction of an act of Congress and conspiracy charges. The full committee report will be released this week. But on Monday, committee members released an executive summary and voted unanimously to refer to charges to the Justice Department.
U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine’s 1st Congressional District said she supported the recommendations and praised the bipartisan committee’s work.
“The committee has shown the entire world the terrifying, grotesque violence of Jan. 6, 2021,” Pingree said in a statement. “The evidence that President Trump incited and directed the mob on the Capitol is overwhelming. I endorse the committee’s recommendation that former President Trump be criminally prosecuted for his actions. Prosecuting a former President in court has never happened before, but if we fail to hold Donald Trump accountable, the threats to America’s democracy will only grow.”
U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, a moderate Democrat from the state's 2nd Congressional District, which voted twice to elect Trump, noted that he voted impeach Trump for his actions on Jan. 6.
“I will review the committee’s full report when it is made available and continue to believe that those responsible for the January 6 attack on the Capitol should be held to account under the law,” Golden said in a statement. “It is now up to the Justice Department to determine how to proceed with the referral.”
Likewise, Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins did not comment on the substance of the committee’s findings.
“From a legal perspective, the House committee’s referral to the Department of Justice does not have an impact on the Department’s prosecutorial decisions,” Collins said in a statement. “The Department of Justice, through the Special Counsel, will make its own prosecutorial decisions with regard to President Trump as part of its nearly two-year, ongoing investigation.”
Independent Sen. Angus King did not immediately comment on the committee’s recommendations on Monday. Both King and Collins voted to convict Trump in Feb. 2021 on an impeachment charge of inciting the insurrection.
Congress could vote in the coming days on a bill co-authored by Collins and supported by King that would change the way presidential electors are counted in response to the violence and political turmoil surrounding Trump’s false claims of a stolen election.
The Electoral Count Reform Act of 2022 would make it harder for members of Congress to toss out a slate of presidential electors from states by requiring that at least 20% of both the House and the Senate object to presidential electors in order to halt the process. Currently, it only takes one representative and one senator to disrupt the count. The bill also would make it clear that during the certification process, the role of the vice president is strictly ceremonial and aims to eliminate the possibility of multiple, competing slates of electors from states by only allowing Congress to consider slates submitted by a governor or one other specified person.
With time running out on the current congressional session, leaders have announced plans to incorporate the electoral bill into a large, omnibus spending bill.