'Sure as hell hope Merrick Garland has an open criminal investigation into Trump': J6 Committee member
US Attorney General Merrick Garland (AFP)

Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) called on the Department of Justice to open a criminal investigation of former President Donald Trump if there wasn't one already underway.

The Virginia Democrat, who helped lead Thursday's public hearing that covered the former president's actions as the Jan. 6 insurrection unfolded, said Trump violated his oath and committed criminal actions in his attempts to overturn his election loss, and she strongly believed the attorney general should consider prosecuting him.

"I think we framed it in dereliction of duty, which in and of itself under civilian law is not explicitly a criminal act, but when you look at the totality of this and we've laid it out leading up to this one focusing in this is what he did and didn't do," Luria told MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "There was an inaction for 187 minutes, but when that inaction is deliberate, he's not acting, when he has the tools to act he's being urged by so many people around him to act, to me that's a deliberate choice that he's not acting because that's part of the plan to let it play out. He's on the phone, continuing to talk to Rudy Giuliani, talking to senators, continuing to apply this pressure."

"What maybe his inaction, what we expected him to do as the president, to stand up in front of the podium and tell these people to stop and go home and we're going to hold you accountable if you broke the law -- he doesn't do that," Luria added.

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The House Select Committee has publicly revealed much of the evidence their investigation has gathered, but she said the Department of Justice should already be conducting their own probe of Trump's attempt to remain in power.

"It's one of the things where people frequently ask the committee, are you going to do some sort of criminal referral, for example," Luria said. "What I would say is that our job as a congressional committee is not to determine whether a crime was committed, it's to put the information out there"

"The Justice Department doesn't need to wait on us to do something," she added. "I sure as hell hope that Merrick Garland has an open criminal investigation into Donald Trump. I mean, with what we've laid out there, with all of the information that is publicly available. This was all done in public. No one needs to wait for some formality from our committee to have that ball in motion."

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