DECEMBER 19, 2022
After investigating for more than a year, the House committee probing the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol on Monday culminated its sweeping investigation by announcing it would make multiple criminal referrals to the Department of Justice against former President Donald Trump on multiple charges related to his actions surrounding riot at the Capitol.
Meeting for its final meeting on Monday to present a summation of the evidence it has gathered over the past year, committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin said the panel believes that “the evidence described … today and assembled throughout our hearings warrants” criminal referrals on at least four charges.
The charges include obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to make a false statement, and insurrection.
In a sweeping 160-page summary released by the committee to explain its findings, the committee labeled Trump as the “central cause” of the attack.
“That evidence has led to an overriding and straight-forward conclusion: the central cause of January 6th was one man, former President Donald Trump, who many others followed. None of the events of January 6th would have happened without him,” the summary said.
The committee’s full final report is expected to be released later this week.
The committee said it would also be referring former Trump attorney John Eastman, who drafted a plan for Trump to cling to power by falsely claiming then-Vice President Mike Pence could reject legitimate electors during the Jan. 6 certification of the vote, to the DOJ on multiple charges.
The committee said “others” also warrant referral, though those individuals were not specified.
“[Trump] entered into agreements, formal and informal, with several other individuals who assisted with his criminal objectives,” Raskin said during the meeting. “That said, the subcommittee does not attempt to determine all of the potential participants in this conspiracy, as our understanding of the role of many individuals may be incomplete because they refused to answer our questions.”
“We trust that the Department of Justice will be able to form a more complete picture through its investigation,” Raskin said.
The committee has been debating the referrals for months, according to sources, though they have been viewed as largely symbolic. The Department of Justice is not obligated to act on these referrals, and it has been conducting its own investigation into the events of Jan. 6.
The committee also said at least four sitting Republican members of Congress would also be referred to the House Ethics Committee for “appropriate sanction.” They include House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Rep Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, Rep Scott Perry, R-PA, and Rep Andy Biggs, R-Ariz.
McCarthy, the panel states, “among other things, had multiple communications with President Trump, Vice President Pence, and others on and related to January 6th.”
The committee notes multiple communications between these members and Trump, Pence, Giuliani, Meadows, and others, including calls to strategize how to delay the Jan. 6 proceeding — but, says the summary, “To be clear, this referral is only for failure to comply with lawfully issued subpoenas.”
The Jan. 6 committee conducted nine public hearings, presenting testimony from more than 70 witnesses regarding its investigation into the attack. “More than 30 witnesses invoked their Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, others invoked Executive Privilege or categorically refused to appear (including Steve Bannon, who has since been convicted of contempt of Congress),” the panel said.
The executive summary released by the committee also found 17 specific findings, including allegations that Trump knew his actions “would be illegal” and that he “pressured VP Mike Pence to refuse to count electoral votes”; that he “unlawfully” pressured state officials and legislatures to overturn the election; and that he never directed deployment of the National Guard or federal law enforcement during the riot.
Separately, the committee said it had also “received a range of evidence suggesting specific efforts to obstruct the Committee’s investigation,” the report said. “Much of this evidence is already known by the Department of Justice and by other prosecutorial authorities.”
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images–
For example, one witness told the committee “about her decision to terminate a lawyer who was receiving payments for the representation from a group allied with President Trump,” according to the summary. The lawyer, the summary said, had instructed the client “about a particular issue that would cast a bad light on President Trump, saying: “No, no, no, no, no. We don’t want to go there. We don’t want to talk about that.”
The lawyer also shared the witness’s testimony with other lawyers and the press over her objection, the summary said.
The committee also is “aware of multiple efforts by President Trump to contact Select Committee witnesses. The Department of Justice is aware of at least one of those circumstances,” the report said.
Trump has dismissed the work of the committee, mocking it as the “Unselect Committee” and calling it a “political Witch Hunt.”
Courtesy/Source: ABC News