Updated Dec 19, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Jan. 6 panel refers Trump on criminal charges

Former US President Donald Trump arrives to speak at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, US, on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022.

Former President Trump at Mar-a-Lago in Florida on Nov. 15. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The Jan. 6 panel voted Monday to refer former President Trump to the Department of Justice on at least four criminal charges, including insurrection and obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress.

Why it matters: In an unprecedented move, the congressional committee voted unanimously that the former president committed crimes for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Driving the news: The panel referred Trump, who has announced he's running for president in 2024, on charges of obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the U.S., conspiracy to make a false statement and "incite," "assist" or "aid or comfort" an insurrection.

  • "The committee has developed significant evidence that President Trump intended to disrupt the peaceful transition of power under our constitution," Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said.
  • The panel also announced Monday the referral of criminal charges against former Trump lawyer John Eastman for his efforts to disrupt the 2020 election.
  • Eastman, with Trump, pushed a theory that Vice President Mike Pence could unilaterally reject electors.
  • "We believe that the evidence described by my colleagues today and assembled throughout our hearings warrants a criminal referral of former president Donald J. Trump, John Eastman and others," Raskin said.
  • The referrals are non-binding and do not require the DOJ to take any additional action.

The big picture: The panel on Monday also voted to refer House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and three other House Republicans to the House Ethics Committee for ignoring the panel's subpoenas.

  • A partial copy of the panel's report charges McCarthy, along with Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Scott Perry (R-Pa.) and Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), with violating House rules requiring members to conduct themselves “at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House."
  • The panel also voted to approve its sprawling final report, which will include legislative recommendations and focus on additional evidence on Trump's role on Jan. 6.

What they're saying: When asked about the referrals during a news conference Monday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre didn't specifically comment but said President Biden believes our "democracy is still under threat" and called the Jan. 6 insurrection the "worst attack on our democracy since the civil war."

  • She reiterated that the committee "has been doing important bipartisan work to get to the truth of what happened" that day.
  • Trump in a statement on Truth Social Monday said: "These folks don’t get it that when they come after me, people who love freedom rally around me. It strengthens me. What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger."

Zoom out: Monday's public meeting is likely the last public session for the committee, as it will dissolve at the end of the current Congressional session.

  • The panel over the last 18 months has reviewed droves of evidence and conducted hundreds of interviews to glean insight into what happened that deadly day.

Read the Introductory Material to the Final Report of the Select Committee below.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with new details throughout.

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