The Jan. 6 select committee has voted to formally accuse former president Donald Trump of four crimes.
The crimes include assisting an insurrection in his bid to subvert the transfer of presidential power to Joe Biden. It marks an unprecedented, historic criminal referral of a former president to the justice department.
The stunning, unprecedented referral of an ex-president came at the final meeting of the bipartisan panel on Monday afternoon. The nine members also voted unanimously to approve the final report of the 18-month investigation, which will be released on Wednesday.
It includes both legislative recommendations and criminal recommendations.
Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss) called it a “roadmap to justice.” The panel not only recommends criminal referrals for Trump, but also for his lawyer John Eastman and others for violating four federal criminal statutes.
The panel also voted unanimously to refer House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and three other House Republicans to the House Ethics Committee for refusing to comply with the panel’s subpoenas.
McCarthy and Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Scott Perry (R-Pa.), and Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) are charged in the report with violating House rules requiring members to conduct themselves “at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House.”
The Trump referrals are for “influencing or impeding an official proceeding of the US government”, “conspiring to defraud the US”, “unlawfully, knowingly or willingly making false statements to the federal government”, and “assisting or engaging in insurrection against the United States”.
The committee said evidence proved Trump provided “aid and comfort” to a mob that was ransacking the Capitol in service of his attempts to reverse his loss in 2020. It also said Trump could be charged with obstructing Congress’ Jan. 6 joint session, conspiracy to make false statements to the National Archives, and conspiracy to defraud the United States.
Attorney General Merrick Garland will make his own decision on charges at the conclusion of the Justice Department’s own investigations, which are headed by special prosecutor Jack Smith.
Trump could face up to 25 years in prison if he is convicted of the four criminal charges.
The referrals for four Republican representatives matter because only the House can discipline its own members over internal matters, and the Ethics Committee is the body empowered with investigating alleged infractions and doling out punishment.
However, the Ethics Committee is split evenly along party lines and a majority vote is required to take any action, meaning Republicans on the panel can block consideration of the referral.