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What to watch for during the January 6 committee’s final session | CNN Politics


The House select committee investigating the US Capitol attack on January 6, 2021, will hold its last public meeting on Monday, marking the end of an expansive investigation that has spanned more than 17 months, encompassed more than 1,000 interviews and culminated in accusations that former President Donald Trump and his closest allies sought to overthrow the 2020 presidential election and stop the peaceful transfer of power.

Through blockbuster hearings, interviews with some of the former president’s closest allies and court battles to free up documents, the committee sought to tell the definitive narrative of what happened in the lead up to and on January 6.

On Monday, members are expected to vote on its final report – spanning hundreds of pages and encapsulating its key findings, which will be released to the public on Wednesday – as well as present criminal referrals it plans to make to the Justice Department. This meeting will be the panel’s last message to the public, and members are seeking to end on a powerful note.

The charges the panel is considering asking DOJ to pursue include multiple against Trump, such as obstruction of an official proceeding and conspiracy to defraud the federal government, a source familiar with the matter tells CNN.

The recommendations match the allegations the House select committee made against Trump and his elections attorney John Eastman in a previous court proceeding seeking Eastman’s emails.

The final House report could include additional charges proposed for Trump, according to the source. It will provide justification from the committee investigation for recommending the charges.

The panel is considering criminal referrals for at least four individuals in addition to Trump, CNN has reported: former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, Eastman, former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark and Trump’s former lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

Criminal referrals would largely be symbolic in nature. The committee lacks prosecutorial powers, and the Justice Department does not need a referral from Congress to investigate crimes. The DOJ special counsel investigation is already examining Trump in its extensive probe into January 6 and members of the panel have acknowledged they do not intend to pile on existing prosecutions.

But committee members see criminal referrals as a critical part of their work and a way to ensure their views are preserved for the record.

Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, told reporters recently how members evolved toward the idea of issuing criminal referrals as the panel’s investigation played out.

“I think the more we looked at the body of evidence that we had collected, we just felt that while we’re not in the business of investigating people for criminal activities, we just couldn’t overlook some of them,” Thompson said.

Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, who leads the January 6 subcommittee tasked with presenting recommendations on criminal referrals to the full panel, recently said that “the gravest offense in constitutional terms is the attempt to overthrow a presidential election and bypass the constitutional order. Subsidiary to all of that are a whole host of statutory offenses, which support the gravity and magnitude of that violent assault on America.”

Raskin, along with Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff and Zoe Lofgren, both of California, and the panel’s vice chair, GOP Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, comprised the subcommittee tasked with providing the full panel with referral recommendations that will be adopted on Monday.

In addition to criminal referrals, Thompson told reporters last week that the panel could issue five to six categories of referrals beyond criminal referrals such as ethics referrals to the House Ethics Committee, bar discipline referrals and campaign finance referrals.

He said any referrals presented on Monday would include supporting evidence and that individuals will not be named to more than one category. Monday’s meeting will also include a public presentation that summarizes the panel’s work.

GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, one of two Republicans on the committee who will be retiring at the end of this Congress, told CNN, “It would be nice if the last thing I was doing was something a little less dramatic,” but he emphasized that the report will “be one of the most important things we do.”

Once the final report is released on Wednesday, Thompson has said the panel will start releasing transcripts from the more than 1,000 interviews the panel conducted throughout its investigation.

“Staff is working to try to put that whole process together,” Thompson said last week.

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