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What to expect from Jan 6 committee’s final public meeting today

‘I think that the evidence is there that Donald Trump committed criminal offences,’ Adam Schiff says

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Monday 19 December 2022 17:07 GMT
Jan.6 committee to vote on criminal charges

The House Select Committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot is holding its last public meeting at 1pm on Monday 19 December.

Here’s what to expect.

Votes on final report and criminal referrals

The panel is expected to vote on adopting its final report as well as possible criminal referrals to the Department of Justice.

The meeting is the end of an almost 18-month-long process into the siege on the US capitol on January 6 2021, now almost two years ago.

The investigation included several public hearings with high-profile witnesses from inside the Trump administration and far-right groups, among others.

While the panel has said they will make referrals to the Justice Department, they haven’t yet made clear who they will refer.

Congressional referrals are just recommendations and not legally binding. The Department of Justice isn’t obligated to follow the recommendations.

But the referrals could boost the political pressure on the department to take action and the panel may reveal fresh evidence in its final report.

The panel has already made referrals for multiple Trump allies who didn’t comply with subpoenas to testify.

Former Trump White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon has been convicted on two counts of contempt of Congress.

Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Jack Smith as special counsel in November to lead the Justice Department’s investigations into Mr Trump, such as supposed attempts to interfere with the presidential transition following the 2020 election.

‘I think there’s sufficient evidence to charge the president’

California Democratic Representative Adam Schiff, a member of the panel, has said that Mr Trump’s efforts to overturn the election were “criminal”.

Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday morning, the former federal prosecutor was asked by host Jake Tapper if he thinks “the evidence is there that Donald Trump committed ... crimes ... and that the cases are prosecutable, that you could get a conviction?”

Mr Schiff replied: “I think that the evidence is there that Donald Trump committed criminal offences in connection with his efforts to overturn the election.

“Viewing it as a former prosecutor, I think there’s sufficient evidence to charge the president. Again, I don’t actually know. Well, I don’t know what the Justice Department has. I do know what’s in the public record. The evidence seems pretty plain to me.”

He added: “But I would want to see the full body of evidence, if I were in the prosecutor’s shoes, to make a decision. But you know, this is someone who, in multiple ways tried to pressure state officials to find votes that didn’t exist. This is someone who tried to interfere with a joint session, even inciting a mob to attack the Capitol.

“If that’s not criminal, then I don’t know what it is.”

Mr Trump continues to claim that he’s done nothing wrong, referring to the panel as the “Unselect Committee of political hacks” and its probe as a “witch hunt”.

The committee will end its work as the next Congress is sworn in and the Republicans take control of the House by a slim majority.

Four panel members won’t be returning to the chamber.

Wyoming GOP Representative Liz Cheney lost in a Republican primary in August, and Democratic Representative Elaine Luria lost her Virginia seat.

Illinois Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger and Florida Democrat Stephanie Murphy both chose not to run for reelection.

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