Jan. 6 committee refers Trump for criminal prosecution on four charges

WASHINGTON — The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol voted unanimously Monday to approve its final report and send four criminal referrals against former President Donald Trump to the Justice Department.

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At Monday’s meeting, Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., outlined the potential charges against Trump and others, including obstruction of an official proceeding and inciting, assisting or giving aid or comfort to an insurrection.

The recommendations do not guarantee that charges will be filed. The Justice Department will be tasked with making the final decision on whether to launch criminal prosecutions.

Committee releases executive summary of report

Update 3:30 p.m. EST Dec. 19: The Jan. 6 committee released a 154-page overview of its findings ahead of the release of its full report on Wednesday.

The committee details allegations behind its four criminal referrals for Trump over several pages. They also add that the Justice Department might find evidence to support other conspiracy charges, including seditious conspiracy.

Jan. 6 committee votes to approve final report

Update 2:17 p.m. EST Dec. 19: The Jan. 6 committee unanimously voted to approve its final report following an 18-month investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, violence at the Capitol.

The committee’s meeting has been adjourned.

Raskin outlines criminal referrals for Trump, others

Update 2:15 p.m. EST Dec. 19: Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said the committee will give the Justice Department four criminal referrals for Trump and others on charges of obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to make a false statement and inciting, assisting or giving aid or comfort to an insurrection.

“Ours is not a system of justice where foot soldiers go to jail and the masterminds and the ringleaders get a pass,” Raskin said Monday.

Raskin also named one of Trump’s attorneys, John Eastman, for criminal prosecution. It was not immediately clear who else could face criminal referrals.

Lofgren: Trump has lost 61 court challenges of 2020 election results

Update 1:50 p.m. EST Dec. 19: Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., said Trump has lost 61 court cases challenging the results of the 2020 presidential election. Even so, she said, he continues to claim that the election was stolen from him.

“Donald Trump knowingly and corruptly repeated election fraud lies which incited his supporters to violence on January 6th,” she said. “He continues to repeat his meritless claim that the election was stolen even today, and continues to erode our most cherished and shared belief in free and fair elections.”

On Dec. 11, Trump questioned reports that the committee was considering making criminal referrals to the Justice Department in a post on social media, asking why they haven’t “SPOKEN ABOUT, OR STUDIED, THOSE THAT RIGGED THE 2020 ELECTION.”

Lofgren said the committee found evidence that Trump raised “hundreds of millions of dollars” from online donors. Some of that money appeared to go toward a strategy to stop witnesses from truthfully testifying to the committee, Lofgren said.

Cheney says Trump ‘unfit for any office’

Update 1:35 p.m. EST Dec. 19: Committee vice-chair Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., highlighted that Trump watched video of the riot at the Capitol on television on Jan. 6, 2021, but that he declined for hours to issue a statement to discourage the violence. She called him “unfit for any office.”

She noted that Jan. 6, 2021, marked “the first time one American president refused his constitutional duty to transfer power peacefully to the next.”

“At the beginning of our investigation, we understood that tens of millions of Americans had been persuaded by President Trump that the 2020 election was stolen by overwhelming fraud, and we also knew this was flatly false,” she said.

Thompson opens meeting with comments on Trump, democracy

Update 1:15 p.m. EST Dec. 19: Committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., has begun the meeting with a focus on Trump and democracy.

“To cast a vote in a United States is an act of faith and hope,” he said. ‘When we drop that ballot in the ballot box we expect the people named on that ballot are going to uphold their end of the deal.”

He said that faith in the electoral system is “the foundation of American democracy.”

“If the faith is broken, so is our Democracy,” he said. “Donald Trump broke that faith. He lost the 2020 election and knew it, but he chose to try to stay in office through a multi-part scheme to overturn the results and block the transfer of power.”

The committee is expected to recommend criminal charges against Trump at Monday’s meeting.

Original report: Rep. Adam Schiff, a member of the committee, told CNN on Sunday that he believes there is evidence to charge Trump with criminal offenses. The California Democrat declined to specify the charges the committee is considering, though The Washington Post and Politico reported they will likely consider charges including obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress, conspiracy to defraud the United States and insurrection.

“I think the president has violated multiple criminal laws,” Schiff told CNN. “And I think you have to be treated like any other American who breaks the law, and that is, you have to be prosecuted.”

The committee could also release a report on its investigation on Monday, NPR reported. The committee’s chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., previously said the committee planned to release its final report on Wednesday.

The report would come after the committee interviewed more than 1,000 witnesses in its probe into the factors that led to violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The group, which includes seven Democrats and two Republicans, has held several public hearings since forming in July 2021. The committee has accused Trump of playing a key role in encouraging the violence, which happened as Congress was gathered to formalize President Joe Biden’s win of the 2020 presidential election.

“He tried to take away the voice of the American people in choosing their president and replace the will of the voters with his will to remain in power,” Thompson said at an October hearing. “He is the one person at the center of the story of what happened on January 6.”

Trump has denied wrongdoing, framing the committee’s investigation as a partisan witch hunt. In a post Sunday on social media, he said the committee was made up of “Corrupt cowards who hate our Country!!!”

The committee in October issued a subpoena seeking Trump’s testimony and records related to its investigation. The former president has not cooperated and last month filed a lawsuit to block the subpoena.

Trump has repeatedly claimed that he lost the 2020 presidential election because of widespread voter fraud. However, several courts have rejected challenges of the election results, and former Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department found no evidence to support such claims.

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