Jan. 6 committee votes to refer Trump to DOJ on multiple criminal charges

By Aditi Sangal, Maureen Chowdhury, Elise Hammond, Melissa Macaya and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 2:48 AM ET, Tue December 20, 2022
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2:50 p.m. ET, December 19, 2022

4 GOP lawmakers are being referred to House Ethics panel for not complying with committee subpoenas

From CNN's Tierney Sneed

The House select committee is referring four members of Congress to the House’s Ethics Committee after those members did not comply with the subpoenas from the panel.

Rep. Jamie Raskin, who announced the referrals at Monday’s public meeting, said they were being referred for “appropriate sanction by the House Ethics Committee for failure to comply with lawful subpoenas.” 

An executive summary released after the meeting identifies the four Republicans as: GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Andy Biggs of Arizona and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania.

CNN has reached out to all four GOP members who were referred to House Ethics for defying the committee's subpoenas.

“This is just another partisan and political stunt made by a Select Committee that knowingly altered evidence, blocked minority representation on a Committee for the first time in the history of the US House of Representatives, and failed to respond to Mr. Jordan’s numerous letters and concerns surrounding the politicization and legitimacy of the Committee’s work," Russell Dye, spokesperson for Rep. Jim Jordan, told CNN.

5:49 p.m. ET, December 19, 2022

JUST IN: Jan. 6 committee approves final report and criminal referrals against Trump

From CNN's Jeremy Herb and Tierney Sneed


The House Jan. 6 committee voted Monday to approve its historic final committee report and refer former President Donald Trump to the Justice Department on multiple criminal charges for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol. 

The committee voted unanimously at the end of its final public meeting Monday to adopt the report and criminal referrals for Trump and others. The final report won't be released publicly until Wednesday.

The committee referred Trump to the Justice Department for obstructing an official proceeding, defrauding the US, making false statements and giving aid or comfort to an insurrection, the panel said Monday.

The committee said at Monday's hearing that there is sufficient evidence to refer Trump on those four potential crimes.

Committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Democrat from Maryland, said that those "are not the only statutes that are potentially relevant to President Trump’s conduct related to the 2020 election” and that "depending on evidence developed by the Department of Justice, the President’s actions could certainly trigger other criminal violations."

The committee said it was also advancing criminal referrals for attorney John Eastman and "others" to the Justice Department for investigation and potential prosecution.

There is evidence to justify an Eastman referral to DOJ on obstruction of an official proceeding and conspiracy to defraud the United States, the committee said Monday. Raskin said that the committee believed the conduct of others may also warrant Justice Department investigation and prosecution, but those referrals were not identified on Monday.

"Our report describes in detail the actions of numerous co-conspirators who agreed with, and participated in, Trump’s plan to impair, obstruct and defeat the certification of President Biden’s electoral victory," Raskin said.

"That said, the subcommittee does not attempt to determine all of the potential participants in this conspiracy, as our understanding of the role of many individuals may be incomplete even today because they refused to answer our questions. We trust that the Department of Justice will be able to form a more complete picture through its investigation."

2:43 p.m. ET, December 19, 2022

Trump was warned of violence before Jan. 6, but refused to encourage peaceful protest

From CNN's Hannah Rabinowitz

Trump supporters participate in a rally in Washington, DC, on January 6, 2021.
Trump supporters participate in a rally in Washington, DC, on January 6, 2021. (John Minchillo/AP)

In the lead up to Jan. 6, 2021, then-President Donald Trump ignored warnings from advisors about the potential for violence and rejected any suggestion that he should explicitly tell supporters to be peaceful, Rep. Stephanie Murphy said Monday. 

Murphy pointed to a text message exchange provided to the committee by Hope Hicks, Trump's former communications director. In the exchange, Hicks and then White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley discussed getting Trump to tweet out a message to his supporters. Gidley texted Hicks that Trump “really should tweet something about Being NON-violent.”  

Hicks responded that she had already “suggested it several times” without success. 

In a recorded interview played by the committee on Monday, Hicks said, “I didn’t speak to the President about this directly, but I communicated with people like [Trump White House lawyer] Eric Herschmann that it was my view that it was important that the President put out some kind of message in advance of the event” about being peaceful. 

“Mr. Herschmann said that he had made the same recommendation directly to the President and that he had refused,” Hicks said in her interview with the committee, a video of which was played Monday. 

Despite his staff’s warnings, Murphy said, Trump took to the stage on Jan. 6, 2021, and encouraged his supporters to “fight like hell,” and sent them marching to the Capitol building. 

2:37 p.m. ET, December 19, 2022

House committee on DOJ referrals: "Masterminds and ringleaders" cannot get a "free pass"

From CNN's Tierney Sneed

The House Select Committee announced at Monday’s meeting it was recommending criminal referrals to the Justice Department as part of its investigation into Jan. 6.

“Ours is not a system of justice where foot soldiers go to jail and the masterminds and ringleaders get a free pass,” said Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Democrat who sits on the committee.

The committee chose to advance referrals because of “where the gravity of the specific offense, the severity of its actual harm, and the centrality of the offender to the overall design of the unlawful scheme to overthrow the election, compel us to speak,” he added. 

As a starting point, the committee relied on opinions issued by a federal judge in California, who determined emails to and from Trump attorney John Eastman showed evidence of a crime. That legal ruling allowed the committee to pierce the privileges that typically would have shielded them from view. 

“The judge concluded that both former President Donald Trump and John Eastman likely violated two federal criminal statutes,” Raskin said. 


2:09 p.m. ET, December 19, 2022

NOW: Jan. 6 committee is outlining criminal referral against Trump and other officials

Form CNN staff

Former President Donald Trump announces he is running for president during a speech at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, on November 15.
Former President Donald Trump announces he is running for president during a speech at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, on November 15. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

The Jan. 6 committee is outlining criminal referral it plans to make against former President Donald Trump to the Justice Department and other officials.

CNN previously reported the committee would refer at least three criminal charges against Trump to the DOJ, including insurrection, obstruction of an official proceeding and conspiracy to defraud the federal government.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chair of the committee, told CNN last week that a subcommittee of members would make recommendations to the full committee about various referrals.

The full committee is now expected to vote on adopting the subcommittee’s recommendations.

Remember: A referral represents a recommendation that the Justice Department investigate and look at charging the individuals in question. The House committee’s final report – to be released Wednesday – will provide justification from the panel’s investigation for recommending the charges.

But any move by the Jan. 6 panel to approve a referral would be largely symbolic because a referral by no means obligates federal prosecutors to bring such a case. With the federal investigation now being led by special counsel Jack Smith, it appears Justice Department investigators are already looking at much of the conduct that the select committee has highlighted.

2:25 p.m. ET, December 19, 2022

Jan. 6 committee concerned lawyer took part in attempt to keep truth from them, Lofgren says

From CNN's Katelyn Polantz

Rep. Zoe Lofgren speaks during the House select committee meeting on Monday.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren speaks during the House select committee meeting on Monday. (Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

House Jan. 6 committee member Rep. Zoe Lofgren revealed during Monday's public meeting that an unnamed lawyer appeared to have attempted to shape the testimony of one witness in a way that could help Donald Trump.

"The witness believed this was an effort to affect her testimony, and we are concerned that these efforts may have been a strategy to prevent the committee from finding the truth," Lofgren said. 

Lofgren noted a lawyer suggested that the witness not share some memories during her testimony to the committee, that she couldn't learn who was paying for her lawyer, and that Trump-allied entities offered to keep her under their wing as her testimony neared.  

"One lawyer told a witness the witness could, in certain circumstances, tell the committee that she didn't recall facts when she actually did recall them. That lawyer also did not disclose who was paying for the lawyer's representation, despite questions from the client seeking that information," Lofgren said. "We've learned that a client was offered potential employment that would make her, quote, financially very comfortable as the date of her testimony approached by entities that were apparently linked to Donald Trump and his associates."  

As it became clear what the witness would say, Lofgren added, the job offers evaporated.

Lofgren didn't name the lawyer or the female witness, and it's not clear if all of the examples are about one witness. 

It's not unusual or illegal for lawyers to take money from motivated backers to pay for witnesses to be represented. But lawyers must follow strict ethics guidelines, governed by their state bars and enforced by the courts. The House select committee previously shared their concerns about potential witness influence with the Justice Department. 


2:18 p.m. ET, December 19, 2022

Former Trump aide Hope Hicks describes conversation with Trump saying the only thing that matters is winning 

From CNN's Clare Foran

Hope Hicks, a former aide to former President Donald Trump, is displayed on a screen during the House select committee hearing on Monday.
Hope Hicks, a former aide to former President Donald Trump, is displayed on a screen during the House select committee hearing on Monday. (Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

In a new video clip played by the House Jan. 6 committee, Hope Hicks, who previously served as a top aide to former President Donald Trump, referenced the baseless claims of election fraud and said: “I was becoming increasingly concerned that ... we were damaging his legacy.”

Trump "said something along the lines of, you know, ‘Nobody will care about my legacy if I lose, so that won’t matter. The only thing that matters is winning,’” Hicks said in the clip.

The committee played the clip after Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren said Trump was repeatedly told there was no evidence to back up his false claims of fraud in the 2020 presidential election, and the panel “has obtained testimony from new witnesses who have come forward to tell us about their conversations with ex-President Trump on this topic.”

“Donald Trump knowingly and corruptly repeated election fraud lies, which incited his supporters to violence on Jan. 6. He continues to repeat his meritless claim that the election was stolen even today, and continues to erode our most cherished and shared belief in free and fair elections,” Lofgren later continued. 

2:18 p.m. ET, December 19, 2022

Kinzinger calls out fellow Republicans for their role in Trump’s DOJ schemes 

From CNN's Marshall Cohen

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, center, speaks during the last hearing of the House select committee on Monday.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, center, speaks during the last hearing of the House select committee on Monday. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of the two Republicans on the the Jan. 6 committee, accused former president Donald Trump of trying to abuse the powers of the Justice Department so he could stay in office.  

“It’s of the utmost importance that our Department of Justice operates as a fair and neutral body, that enforces our federal laws without fear or without favor,” Kinzinger said during Monday's public meeting. “It is this critical function that President Trump sought to corrupt, as he sought to use the Department to investigate and prosecute purported election fraud, and to help him convince the public that the election was stolen.”

Kinzinger described how Trump wanted top Justice Department officials to publicly endorse his false claims about massive voter fraud. As part of the plan, Trump wanted them to “just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen,” according to committee testimony. 

A retiring Republican, Kinzinger called out his fellow GOP lawmakers. He also specifically name-dropped Pennsylvania Rep. Scott Perry, who was involved with some of Trump’s scheming at the Justice Department.  

When then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen refused to go along with Trump’s plan, Trump almost fired him and replaced him with Jeffrey Clark, a Trump loyalist at DOJ who embraced his election lies.  

“It was only after the threat of mass resignations that President Trump rescinded his offer to Mr. Clark,” Kinzinger said.


2:14 p.m. ET, December 19, 2022

Trump "oversaw" legally dubious fake electors plot, Jan. 6 committee says 

From CNN's Zachary Cohen

Members of the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol sit on Monday beneath a video of former President Donald Trump talking about the results of the 2020 election.
Members of the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol sit on Monday beneath a video of former President Donald Trump talking about the results of the 2020 election. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Former President Donald Trump “oversaw” an effort to obtain and transmit false Electoral College certificates, tying him directly to a core tenet of the broader plot to upend Joe Biden’s legitimate victory in key swing states, the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection said Monday.

The panel highlighted Trump’s personal involvement in the legally dubious effort to put forward fake slates of electors in seven states he lost, arguing that the evidence shows he actively worked to “transmit false Electoral College ballots to Congress and the National Archives.”

Those certificates, which surfaced publicly earlier this year, helped spark criminal investigations into the Trump team’s attempt to subvert the Electoral College.  

As part of its closing message Monday, the select committee emphasized that these “false ballots” were created despite concerns among Trump’s election lawyers and White House counsel that doing so may be “unlawful.”

“The false ballots were created by fake Republican electors on December 14th, at the same time the actual, certified electors in those States were meeting to cast their votes for President Biden. By that point in time, election-related litigation was over in all or nearly all of these states, and Trump Campaign election lawyers realized that the fake slates were unjustifiable on any grounds, and may be unlawful,” committee member Rep. Adam Schiff said.

“In spite of these concerns, and the concerns of individuals in the White House Counsel’s Office, President Trump and others proceeded with this plan,” he added. 

The committee has evidence that shows these “intentionally false” Electoral College certificates were “transmitted to multiple officers of the federal government,” according to Schiff. 

Evidence collected by the committee also shows these documents “were intended to interfere with the proper conduct of the joint session, where the existence of so-called ‘competing slates’ of electors would serve as a pretext for legitimate electoral votes to be rejected,” he added.