The House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol voted unanimously on Monday to refer criminal charges against Donald Trump to the Justice Department, capping its work in its last meeting with a dramatic statement against the former president.
The nine-person panel made the following referrals for Trump for his role on that day:
- Obstruction of an official proceeding
- Conspiracy to defraud the United States
- Conspiracy to make a false statement
- Inciting, assisting or providing aid or comfort to an insurrection
Chair Bennie Thompson — who has called the attack the “culmination of an attempted coup” — said Trump chose to try to stay in office through a multipart scheme and to block the transfer of power to President Joe Biden. Liz Cheney, the Wyoming Republican who is vice chair of the panel, said Trump’s refusal to stop the riot was an “utter moral failure.”
The panel’s referrals are largely symbolic, and it will fall to federal prosecutors to decide whether to pursue any referrals for prosecution, as the Associated Press has reported.
The recommendations by the committee add to the political pressure on the Justice Department as it investigates Trump’s actions.
The committee also referred four Republican members of Congress to the House Ethics Committee for their failure to comply with subpoenas: Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California — who is seeking to become the next House speaker — as well as Jim Jordan of Ohio, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Andy Biggs of Arizona.
Trump on Sunday slammed the lawmakers on the House committee, calling them “Thugs and Scoundrels” as the panel was preparing for its final public hearing and report this week.
The committee’s action on Monday marked the first time that Congress has referred a former president for criminal prosecution.
The White House declined to comment Monday on the criminal referrals.
The referrals come as Trump is again running for president. Republican primary voters, meanwhile, have high interest in Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as a potential 2024 presidential nominee and view him more favorably than they do Trump, according to a recent Wall Street Journal poll.