Trump's admission about Pence hanging should be the basis for a  'criminal' charge: CNN analyst
Donald Trump. (NumenaStudios /

Reacting to an audio clip recorded by ABCs Jonathan Karl, where Donald Trump dismissed the chants by some of his followers to "hang Mike Pence" as they stormed the Capitol on Jan 6th, CNN legal analyst Elie Honig said the case could be made for a "criminal" charge against the former president.

Speaking with hosts John Berman and John Avlon, the former federal prosecutor seemed incensed by what he heard.

"I think, in hearing this, there is a whole legal can of worms that has been opened here, maybe on several fronts," host Berman suggested. "First and foremost, the very first part of what Donald Trump said was that he was being updated on the vice president's condition. And we had some reporting that Donald Trump was watching the insurrection on TV and [the New York Times'] Maggie Haberman and others are saying he liked what he saw, this is the former president saying he was being updated as to what was going on there. How significant is that?"

"That's a crucial fact," Honig immediately replied. "Big picture: first of all, this is a constitutional nightmare. This is a constitutional worst-case scenario. The utter madness of a president, as John [Avlon] just said, who is endorsing, supporting these people who are attacking his vice president."

"Now, to the specific point, what it goes to is the president's intent and this is what investigators in Congress need to be thinking about and in the Justice Department," he continued. "People who are defending the president and said when he stood in front of that rally, when he said 'be there, January 6th, we'll be wild. we'll go down to Congress, and we're going to fight like hell,' defenders of the president said, well, what he meant is go down there and picket and carry signs and exercise political speech. However, this shows that they were doing -- when they were in there breaking windows and attacking the vice president, they were doing exactly what Donald Trump wanted, and hoped and intended and that issue of intent should be at the heart of any Congressional inquiry, or any prosecutorial inquiry."

He then added, "It is an absolute reminder of the vital importance of what Congress is doing today, right now, at this hour. This is why it is so important that we, the public, hear testimony from the inner circle. I don't care how loyal they are to Donald Trump, [Mark] Meadows, [Dan] Scavino, [Steve] Bannon -- all the people physically with him on January 6th -- they need to come forward and be compelled if necessary and if not willing they need to be prosecuted."

"It is vital we know what Donald Trump was doing during the attack on January 6th," he told the CNN host. "That will tell the story. All the spin in the world doesn't matter; if he was there cheering them on, plus supporting them, like we heard in that tape, that's a violation of his Constitutional duty and I argue that's criminal as well."

Watch below:

CNN 11 12 2021 08 02 37