January 6 Committee To Make Criminal Referrals In Final Public Meeting

December 19, 2022

The House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021 insurrection was set to hold its final public meeting on Monday, at which point it would vote on criminal referrals—including recommending criminal charges against former President Trump for his role in the plot to attempt to overturn the 2020 Presidential election.

The Committee has been preparing an extensive report based on more than 1,000 interviews, extensive videos of the deadly assault meant to overturn the 2020 Presidential election and millions of documents. It would be a final summation of the committee’s year-and-a-half investigation.

The Committee has also been weighing criminal referrals for a number of Trump associates, which could include former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, right wing lawyer John Eastman, former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark and former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, according to reports.

Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) has said there would be five or six different categories of referrals. Some may go to the Justice Department, others to the House Ethics Committee. And when reporters last week asked whether some referrals might go to state bar associations, Chairman Thompson did not dismiss that suggestion. 

On Sunday, January 6 Committee member Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, conceded that he didn’t know whether the Justice Department would prosecute Trump. However, he added, “Viewing it as a former prosecutor, I think there’s sufficient evidence to charge the [former] President.”

“I need to know what’s in the public record,” Schiff went on. “The evidence seems pretty plain to me. But I would want to see the full body of evidence if I were in the prosecutor’s shoes to make a decision. But this is someone who in multiple ways [tried] to pressure state officials to find votes that didn’t exist. This is someone who tried to interfere with the joint session, even inciting the mob to attack the Capitol. If that’s not criminal, then I don’t know what is.” 

On November 18, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed veteran career prosecutor Jack Smith as special counsel to, among other duties, investigate whether criminal charges should be filed against Trump for his role in January 6.

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