a Criminal Referral for Trump
In its likely final meeting, the House of Representatives’ January 6 Committee on Monday put an exclamation point on nearly 18 months of work: The committee approved four federal criminal proposals against former President Donald Trump.
During their hearing, seven Democrats and two Republican members of the select committee summarized their upcoming final report, including recommendations that the Justice Department indict Trump for has incited or supported an insurrection, obstructed an official proceeding, and conspired to defraud the federal government.
The report also includes a criminal referral to John Eastman, the Trump attorney behind the legal strategy to keep Trump in office. It will also refer four Republican members of Congress—who were not named during Monday’s hearing—to the House Ethics Committee for refusing to subpoena the committee. Five Republican lawmakers were convened by the committee in May: Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Scott Perry (R-PA), Mo Brooks (R-AL) and Andy Biggs (R-AZ). (McCarthy is the leader of the GOP House; Brooks is retiring.)
It was a historic moment. No sitting or former president has ever faced such an action from a congressional panel. But the referrals have no inherent legal authority, and it is notable that the DOJ has been investigating Trump for possible federal law violations related to his moves around January 6. formally referred to the Ethics Committee, but ultimately non-binding.
During the hearing, Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD) outlined the committee’s recommendation recommendations shortly before the panel unanimously adopted the full report.
However, there is more than historical symbolism going on for the committee in issuing referrals. This Wednesday, the panel is expected to publish its final long report summarizing their findings and substantiating their argument that Trump and his allies violated federal law.
The committee’s months-long investigation, which included more than 1,000 interviews with witnesses, has revealed many revelations, from testimony alleging that Trump knew the crowd at the Capitol was armed to his unprecedented attempt to promote a mid-level DOJ attorney, Jeffrey Clark. , as acting attorney general to help keep him in power.
True to the panel’s history so far, they have set aside several key items that will be revealed in the final hearing. For instance, in her speech, Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) said the committee was aware that Trump’s orbit had tried to entice witnesses who would not cooperate with the investigation by inviting them to work.
Lofgren also said there are big questions about Trump’s fundraising boom after the 2020 election and suggested donors’ money could have been used to hire lawyers.
The panel’s public findings helped guide federal prosecutors’ investigation of Trump and Jan. 6. While Special Counsel Jack Smith—DOJ’s informant in handling the criminal investigation about Trump—not having to pay attention to the committee’s findings and arguments, that’s unlikely. The final report will be ignored.
In her opening remarks Monday, Representative Bennie Thompson (D-MS), the selected committee chair, expressed “absolute confidence” that federal prosecutors will use the final report. their end as a “roadway to justice”.
For a committee that has been remarkably successful not only in gathering a large body of evidence but also in publishing those findings with maximum impact, Monday’s hearing was a fitting outcome.
The panel had 10 public hearings, with the October meeting serving as their summary. But after Republicans won enough seats in November to take control of the House—and immediately shut down the chosen committee on January 3—the panel added one final session to approve it. proposals.
Of course, since the committee last met publicly in October, Trump has begun campaigning to return to the White House in 2024. That backdrop seems to add a new dimension to his last meeting. Committee.
“We are still in strange and uncharted waters,” Thompson said in his statement. “Nearly two years later, it’s still a time of reflection and reckoning.”