WASHINGTON– The House Inquiry Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 riot is due to make announcements about criminal referrals to the Justice Department at its final public session on Monday.
So what is a criminal referral?
A referral is a recommendation that the Department of Justice investigate and review the charges against the individuals concerned. The final report of the House Committee – due to be released on Wednesday – will provide a rationale for the panel’s investigation into the prosecution’s recommendation.
But any move by the Jan. 6 panel to approve a referral would be largely symbolic, since a referral in no way obliges federal prosecutors to bring such a case, CNN reported.
With the federal investigation now being led by Special Counsel Jack Smith, Justice Department investigators already appear to be investigating much of the behavior the Special Committee highlighted.
But whether the department will press charges will depend on whether the facts and evidence support a prosecution, Attorney General Merrick Garland said. Garland will make the ultimate call on charging decisions.
In addition to criminal referrals, Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the Jan. 6 committee chair, said the panel could issue five to six other categories of referrals, such as campaign funding recommendations.
What crimes should the January 6 committee consider for referral to Trump?
The committee is reviewing multiple alleged crimes for a referral from former President Donald Trump to the Justice Department, CNN reported last week.
A source familiar with the matter said they included rioting, obstructing an official process and conspiring to defraud the federal government.
For the latter two, lawmakers can draw on an advisory opinion from a California federal judge, who wrote earlier this year that there was evidence Trump and his allies were plotting to defraud the US government and obstruct an official process. The opinion was issued by U.S. District Judge David O. Carter in a dispute over whether the House of Representatives can access certain emails sent to and from former Trump attorney John Eastman.
The judge cited emails discussing Trump’s awareness that certain voter fraud allegations brought to trial as evidence of a conspiracy to defraud the federal government were inaccurate. To explain his evidence of disability, the judge referred to emails showing that the Trump team was considering filing lawsuits not to obtain legitimate legal protection but to interfere in congressional proceedings.
A House referral for an insurgency fee would be a more aggressive move. It is a crime to support or take part in “any rebellion or insurrection against United States authority or the laws.” Judges have used the term “insurgency” to describe the Jan. 6 attack on Congressional confirmation of the 2020 presidential election.
But the Justice Department has not chosen to press charges in its hundreds of riots in the US Capitol. Instead, prosecutors have relied on criminal statutes relating to violence, obstruction of an official process and, in some limited cases, seditious conspiracy.
Who else could be expelled?
The panel has also weighed criminal references to a number of Trump’s closest allies, including Eastman, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, and Trump’s former attorney Rudy Giuliani, multiple sources told CNN earlier this month with.
Another source warned at the time that while names were being considered, discussions would still need to be had before they were final.
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https://6abc.com/january-6-committee-final-hearing-criminal-referrals-president-donald-trump-justice-department/12588568/ January 6 committee December 19: Here’s what to know about criminal referrals they may make to the Justice Department