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On January 6, a House committee unveiled a criminal referral against Donald Trump.

The House committee investigating the Capitol riot will make its final public presentation Monday about Donald Trump’s unprecedented effort to overturn the results of the presidential election he lost in 2020. The committee has labeled it an “attempted coup” that warrants criminal prosecution by the Justice Department.

That is expected to be the committee’s closing argument as it concludes a year-and-a-half-long investigation and prepares to release a final report detailing its findings about the insurgency in the nation’s capital on Jan. 6, 2021, as Congress was certifying Joe Biden’s presidential victory. The committee of seven Democrats and two Republicans is set to disband at the end of the year.

Monday’s meeting will be the committee’s 11th public session since its formation in July 2021. More than 20 million people watched one of the first hearings on June 9.

referring to a president

The committee is expected to make criminal and civil referrals against the former president and his associates who, according to lawmakers, broke the law or committed ethical violations.

The referrals could include criminal, ethics, legal, and campaign finance violations, according to the committee’s chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss. Lawmakers have suggested that their recommended charges against Trump could include conspiracy to defraud the United States, obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress, and insurrection.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., stated on Sunday that he believes Trump committed multiple crimes. In particular, Schiff stated that “if you look at Donald Trump’s acts and you match them up against the statute, it’s a pretty good match.”

“This is someone who 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,” Schiff said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “If that’s not criminal, I don’t know what is.”

Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., stated last week that the committee’s actions will focus on “key players” where there is sufficient or abundant evidence that they committed crimes.

It will be up to federal prosecutors to decide whether to file charges. Despite being non-binding, the committee’s recommendations would increase political pressure on the Justice Department as special counsel Jack Smith conducts an investigation into Jan. 6 and Trump’s actions.

Legislators, who collude?
On Monday, the committee could also make ethics referrals involving fellow lawmakers.

“We will also consider what the appropriate remedy is for members of Congress who ignore a congressional subpoena, as well as the evidence that was so pertinent to our investigation and why we wanted to bring them in,” Schiff said. “We have considered the remedy for members of Congress. Is it a criminal referral to another branch of government, or is it better that Congress polices itself?”

He stated that the committee considered censure and ethics referrals and that their decision would be made public on Monday.

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy of California, as well as Republican Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Andy Biggs of Arizona, and Mo Brooks of Alabama, did not comply with subpoenas issued by the committee on January 6.

A historical first
Lawmakers have promised that Monday’s session will include a sneak peek at the committee’s final report, which is expected to be released on Wednesday. The panel will vote on adopting the official record, effectively authorizing the release of the report to the public.

The eight-chapter report will include hundreds of pages of findings about the attack and Trump’s efforts to undermine democracy, based on what the committee learned from interviews with more than 1,000 witnesses.

It will be similar to the summer series of public hearings the committee held that detailed various aspects of the investigation, including the role of extremist groups in the Jan. 6 violence, Trump’s attempt to enlist the Justice Department in his schemes, and Trump’s coordination with GOP lawmakers to overturn the election results.

Additional evidence, including some of the massive trove of video footage and testimony gathered by the committee, is expected to be made public before the end of the year.

The final report is highly anticipated. Book publishers are already selling pre-release copies to the general public.

Legislative changes
As the committee meets for the final time, a major legislative response to the insurgency could be on the fast track to passage.

By including legislative changes in a year-end spending bill, lawmakers are expected to overhaul the arcane election law that Trump attempted to subvert following his 2020 election defeat.

The proposed changes to the Electoral Count Act are one of many byproducts of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Since the insurgency, a bipartisan group of legislators has been working on the legislation. Trump and his allies attempted to find loopholes in the law prior to the congressional certification of the 2020 election, as the former president worked to overturn his defeat to Biden and unsuccessfully pressured Pence to go along.

If passed, the bill would amend a 19th-century law that, along with the Constitution, governs how states and Congress certify electors and declare presidential election winners, ensuring that the popular vote from each state is protected from manipulation and that Congress does not arbitrarily decide presidential elections.

The committee is also expected to release its own legislative proposals in its final report, with ideas for how to strengthen and expand the guardrails that protected Electoral College certification in 2021.

Arguments for conclusion
Since its inception on Jan. 6, the Jan. 6 committee has worked to create a historical record and broaden the public’s understanding of what led to the Capitol attack and the individuals involved.

“We obviously want to finish the story for the American people,” Raskin said. “Everyone has come on this journey with us, and we want a satisfactory conclusion so that people feel Congress has done its job.”

After conducting thousands of interviews with people ranging from Trump Cabinet secretaries to members of his own family and obtaining tens of thousands of documents, congressional investigators claim to have created the most comprehensive look at the worst attack on the Capitol in two centuries.

However, the 16-month investigation has also served as a sort of road map for criminal investigations, influencing the Trump and Jan. 6 probes that are currently underway at the local, state, and federal levels.

With Trump announced as a presidential candidate in 2024, it is unclear whether the Justice Department will take action. Schiff expressed concern on Sunday that federal prosecutors may be slow to file charges as long as Trump is politically relevant. “I believe he should face the same remedy, the force of law, as anyone else,” Schiff said.

Nonetheless, Monday’s session is the final word for the committee, as its temporary, or “select,” committee status expires at the end of the current Congress.

When Republicans gain control of the House next year, they are not expected to renew the committee, instead launching a slew of investigations into the Biden administration and the president’s family.

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