The matter seems clear: numerous witnesses in the committee have documented how Donald Trump tried to prevent his election defeat by storming his supporters on the Capitol. It has not yet been decided whether it will lead to an indictment.

The investigative committee paints a frightening picture: Donald Trump knew he had lost the election and yet clung to power by any means necessary. Former employees, party friends and even family members raised serious allegations against the former president before the US Congressional Committee of Inquiry. But whether the billionaire will be charged remains questionable.

The committee is investigating the storming of the Capitol on January 6 last year that killed several people. According to witnesses, this attack was part of a broader “coup attempt” by Trump and his attorney, John Eastman.

Former prosecutor: Chances of indictment are good

“There’s a good chance the Justice Department will indict Mr. Trump,” said Kevin O’Brien, a former New York City attorney. “The legal argument is sound and would convince a jury — assuming prosecutors can make a connection between Trump and Eastman’s plots to thwart the vote count and the Capitol riot.”

The committee has always stated that it wants to leave the decision on indictment to the responsible authorities. However, he did hint that he will charge the ex-president with at least two crimes: obstructing the counting of the electoral vote and involvement in a criminal conspiracy against the United States.

For weeks before the storm, Trump fooled his supporters into believing he had been cheated out of victory. At the same time, poll workers, polling officials and representatives of the judicial authorities were harassed and intimidated. The outgoing president called on his supporters to come to Washington on January 6 and fueled the crowd to march to the Capitol as the election results were confirmed there.

Donald Trump did in a crucial phase: nothing

Text messages show that the then-president did nothing for hours to stop the violence while staff members increasingly desperately tried to get him to stop the mob.

Explosive testimony on Tuesday put the ex-president further in distress. According to a former White House staffer, after his speech on January 6, 2021, Trump tried to snatch the steering wheel from the driver of his presidential limousine and drive to the Capitol. Trump also knew that some of his supporters were armed at the time, the witness said.

Trump’s defense attorneys argue that he truly believed in election fraud and therefore tried to protect voters. However, testimonies in the investigative committee suggest that Trump knew very well about his defeat – especially since his closest confidants kept telling him so.

Doubts about the US Attorney General

Trump is a “clear and present danger” to US democracy, said retired Judge J. Michael Luttig, a star in conservative legal and political circles and one of the most powerful witnesses. According to a survey by TV station ABC News and polling company Ipsos, almost 60 percent of US citizens are convinced that the ex-president should be put on trial. For Attorney General Merrick Garland, the question of indictment is not so easy to answer.

“Bucked-up law enforcement could strengthen Trump and even help him get re-elected,” writes Edward Luce, columnist for the Washington Financial Times. Neama Rahmani, a former federal prosecutor in San Diego, California, doubts that the Attorney General has “the guts” for such a fight. “Indicting a previous president would be a first, and you need an aggressive prosecutor willing to take on a difficult and politically charged indictment,” Rahmani said. “I don’t think Merrick Garland is that prosecutor.”

Many people in the United States fear that an indictment would spark widespread unrest. Trump’s supporters could take to the streets as in the past, violence is not excluded.

The US judiciary is in a bind

According to Nicholas Creel, a law professor at Georgia College and State University, there is no way around prosecuting the ex-president. If he gets away with it, Creel argues, it would make a mockery of the central tenet of the US judiciary that “no man is above the law.”

“An indictment would go against the established norm of not prosecuting former presidents and would almost certainly provoke a mass uprising from his supporters,” says the lawyer. “But the alternative is to allow him to have attempted a coup with no consequences. That would hurt the nation far more than his prosecution would.”