January 6 Committee Makes Four Criminal Referrals Against Trump For Attack On Capitol

The House Select Committee criminally referred Trump to the Justice Department for insurrection, conspiracy and more, in a historic move after months of investigation.

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For the first time in history, a former president has received criminal referrals for attempting to overturn the results of an election. The House January 6 Committee sent four referrals to the Justice Department for former President Donald Trump during its final meeting on Monday, December 19. After a months-long investigation on the attack on the Capitol, the House Select Committee referred him for obstructing an official proceeding, attempting to defraud the U.S., conspiracy to make false statements, and insurrection.

For the final hearing, the committee recounted the many findings during previous hearings before unanimously voting on the referrals. At the end of the meeting, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) read out the referrals and statutes before the vote. “We understand the gravity of each and every referral we are making today… just as we understand the magnitude of the crime against democracy we describe in our report,” he said.

The committee also announced a 160-page report about its findings, which is expected to be released soon. Now that the referrals have been made, it is up to the Justice Department whether it pursues prosecution against Trump or not. The department is currently pursuing its own investigation of the January 6 attack. The committee also said it would make a referral for former Trump attorney John Eastman, and “others,” who were unnamed. The committee also referred four Republican congressmen to the House Ethics Committee for not complying with subpoenas, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. 

The meeting was held nearly two months after the last hearing, where the committee voted to subpoena Trump to testify.  Nearly a month after the vote, the committee tweeted that Trump “has refused to comply” with the subpoena for a deposition. Since the vote, Trump has also announced that he’ll be running for president again in 2024. Prior to the hearing, it was reported by Politico that the committee was recommending three charges against Trump for insurrection, obstruction of an official proceeding, and conspiracy to defraud the United States government.

Trump was given four criminal referrals by the committee. (Tami Chappell/UPI/Shutterstock)

The committee presented evidence surrounding a wide range of topics related to Trump and the 2020 election. They showed interview clips with staffers who said that in private Trump acknowledged that he’d lost the election. They also showed that staff members were well aware that the rally on January 6 could turn violent, prior to the event.

Prior to the hearing, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), who is the committee chair, had promised new “significant information” would be revealed, but there likely would not be live witnesses. “We’re not really looking at bringing witnesses before the committee in the next hearing,” he said, per CNN

During the last hearing over the summer, outtakes from Trump’s speech the day after the January 6 attack were shown, including videos of him refusing to say, “The election is over,” even after his supporters had stormed the Capitol in an attempt to overturn the results of the election.

There have been many revelations about Trump and his messaging to supporters since the January 6 attack. Stephen Ayres, one of the rioters who was arrested, revealed that he felt like he’d been following Trump’s instructions. After the then-president released his video telling his supporters to go home amid the attack, Ayres had said that he and other rioters turned to go home. “When President Trump put his tweet out, we literally left right after that come out,” he explained. “To me, if he would’ve done that earlier in the day [at] 1:30. We wouldn’t be in this. Maybe we wouldn’t have been in this as bad of a situation.”

Cheney speaks at the July hearing. (J Scott Applewhite/AP/Shutterstock)

Aside from covering how Trump refused to accept the true and fair results of the 2020 election, the earlier hearings also shared findings about rioters trying to attack former Vice President Mike Pence during the insurrection. A National Security Council staffer revealed that member’s of Pence’s security detail had made calls to their family members to say their goodbyes as the attack got bad. “There were a lot of there was a lot of yelling. A lot of very personal calls over the radio so, it was disturbing. They were called to say goodbye to family members, so on and so forth,” the anonymous staff said. Along with the shocking and sad revelations about the calls made to family, Democratic Representative Pete Aguilar also revealed that during the attack, the rioters managed to get within 40 feet of the then-vice president during an earlier hearing.

Since the last hearing, FBI agents have also raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence, after a Department of Justice investigation found that he had brought classified documents from the White House to Florida. Trump has attacked the Justice Department and FBI for seizing the documents.

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