This is a first in the history of the United States.
Monday, December 19, the parliamentary commission of inquiry into the events of January 6, 2021 - the assault on the Capitol - recommended to Attorney General Merrick Garland, who is at the head of the Department of Justice across the Atlantic, to engage criminal charges against former US President Donald Trump.
The full report will be published this Wednesday, December 21.
This commission, made up of seven Democrats and two Republicans, made its recommendations following a unanimous vote.
It is the conclusion of a colossal work of 18 months of investigations
recalls Nicole Bacharan, political scientist and specialist in the United States.
In all, more than 1,000 people were interviewed.
This follows the events of January 6, 2021 when Trumpist supporters - convinced that the presidential election which had seen Democrat Joe Bide win had been "
" - had attacked the headquarters of Congress to stop the certification of results.
Read alsoUnited States: the story of our special correspondent inside the Capitol
This Monday, the parliamentary commission of inquiry retained four counts of indictment against Donald Trump: call for insurrection, conspiracy against the American State, obstruction of an official procedure (that of certification of a presidential ballot) and false statements to the federal government.
What consequences can we expect in this case?
What is the former president risking?
What does this recommendation change?
The decision rendered by the parliamentary commission of inquiry is only a recommendation: it does not condemn Donald Trump to anything.
This is a very symbolic, but historic decision
underlines however Jean-Éric Branaa, lecturer at the University of Paris-2 and specialist in the United States.
Historic because never an American president had found himself in such a position.
These recommendations were predictable.
The whole investigation revolved around Donald Trump
On the American television channel CNN, the Democrat Bennie Thompson said Monday "
" that criminal proceedings were going to be initiated against Donald Trump.
Because it is indeed the "
Minister of Justice
[Merrick Garland, Editor's note]
who has the last word
assures Jean-Éric Branaa.
Certainly, Merrick Garland last November appointed a special prosecutor in charge of investigating Donald Trump - the experienced Jack Smith, former prosecutor of the Special Court for Kosovo - but the role of the latter stops at the handing over of a report to the Minister of Justice.
Report that he has not finished yet.
The decision whether or not to prosecute Donald Trump rests solely with the Department of Justice.
What is Donald Trump risking?
This question divides.
On paper, Donald Trump faces a sentence of up to imprisonment.
He is risking very big
, confirms Jean-Éric Branaa.
Ineligibility, which has never been pronounced against a former president in the history of the United States would be the least of his evils.
prison for incitement to insurrection
This is the worst possible charge
adds Nicole Bacharan.
Last August, a far-right activist who participated in the assault on the Capitol was sentenced to more than seven years in prison.
Read alsoUnited States: the January 6 commission of inquiry confirms the central role of Trump in the attack on the Capitol
However, incitement to insurrection remains very difficult to prove.
Donald Trump is going to say that it was not his intention, that he badly formulated his remarks
wants to believe Jean-Éric Branaa.
Except in the case where “
certain testimonies show that Donald Trump had this intention
”, he adds.
The former president was particularly weakened last June by the speech of Cassidy Hutchinson, a former collaborator of the White House.
“I heard the president say something like,
I don't give a damn if they have guns!
They're not here to hurt me!
Take down those fucking gates and let people in, from here they can walk to the Capitol!”
, she had testified.
For Jean-Éric Branaa, Donald Trump nevertheless risks “
a big fine and ineligibility
Nobody has an interest in a former president going to prison because it would create disorder
Especially since the main witnesses "
remain loyal for the moment
" to the 45th President of the United States.
Read alsoAssault on the Capitol: Trump weakened by the damning testimony of a close collaborator
On the other hand, if the Attorney General does not decide to prosecute Donald Trump, the latter could come out unscathed.
I don't see him saying that Donald Trump didn't play a role in this.
For me, his speech
[of January 6, 2021, editor’s note]
clearly calls for insurrection
, ”recalls Nicolas Bacharan.
Highly improbable therefore, but nothing forces Merrick Garland to prosecute Donald Trump.
There is also “
the question of presidential immunity and knowing what goes into it or not
also advances the political scientist.
As a reminder, Donald Trump was still president at the time of the facts - January 6, 2021 -, Joe Biden having officially taken office only on January 20, 2021.
What could happen now?
But for the time being,
“Donald Trump is not accused of anything,
supports Jean-Éric Branaa.
There is no criminal prosecution
I think the Attorney General will suggest that certain people like Rudy Giuliani
[l'Ancien Avocat de Donald Trump, NDLR]
speak to obtain consistent testimony and convict the former president
For these two specialists, however, the Minister of Justice has a very complex decision to make, in a context of political fracture in the country.
On the one hand the Attorney General has time before him to decide whether or not to prosecute Donald Trump, on the other the electoral campaign is already starting,
" says Nicole Bacharan.
So we are left in uncharted territory with a new Trump soap opera beginning
What influence in the race for the White House?
Beyond the legal aspect, this case is political in nature.
And even if the spokeswoman for the White House Karine Jean-Pierre assured that the executive wanted
to “be very careful not to politicize this process at all”.
Especially in view of the presidential election of 2024, in which Donald Trump has already declared himself a candidate.
He needs to stay in the campaign to say that we
[the Democrats, editor's note]
want to muzzle him
Something already done on Monday on his Truth Social network where he denounced "
attempts to [l'] dismiss [him] and the Republican Party
" from the race for the White House.
Read alsoDonald Trump: first steps towards the presidency of 2024
His campaign is charred,
" says Jean-Éric Branaa.
The legal pressure is extraordinary and it will occupy him 24 hours a day
There is also, within the Republican Party,
a desire to turn the page
adds Nicole Bacharan, who recalls that most Trumpist candidates were defeated in the mid-term elections.
Florida Governor Ron De Santis "
remains in the best position
" to seek the Republican nomination in 2024.