Key takeaways from the House Jan. 6 committee's final public meeting

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The House Jan. 6 committee met publicly for the last time on Monday, bringing its 18-month investigation to a dramatic close by making Donald Trump the first former president to be the subject of a criminal referral from Congress.

The nine-person panel voted unanimously to recommend that the Justice Department seek criminal charges against the former president on four counts stemming from his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election and prevent the peaceful transition of power, culminating in the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

The committee outlined its evidence supporting these referrals in a 154-page document released following the vote. That document is part of a larger report summarizing the complete findings of its investigation, which produced over 1,000 interviews and more than a million documents. On Monday, the committee voted to approve the final report and is expected to make it public later this week.

Before the vote, the committee members delivered an overview of their findings, including highlights from earlier hearings as well as some new pieces of information from witnesses who have come forward in the last couple of months.

The committee recommends Trump face charges on at least 4 criminal counts

Members of the House select committee
Members of the House select committee with Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., at the committee's final hearing on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images)

Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., took the lead in unveiling the details of the committee’s criminal referrals for Trump and his co-conspirators in the months-long effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election. He explained the committee’s conclusion that there is “more than sufficient evidence” to bring charges against Trump on four specific counts: obstruction of an official proceeding; conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to make a false statement; and efforts to incite, assist or aid or comfort an insurrection.

However, Raskin noted that these are not the only statutes that may be relevant to Trump’s conduct in the lead-up to Jan. 6, nor is Trump the only one who should be held accountable. He said the committee would urge the Justice Department to consider all possible charges against the former president, as well as all those who were involved in the scheme, adding that the referrals approved by the committee Monday are “not an attempt to determine all potential co-conspirators.”

Members of Congress recommended for sanctions

Former President Donald Trump
Donald Trump at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., on Nov. 15 to announce his intention to run for president in 2024. (Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The select committee also recommended that four of their Republican colleagues face sanctions from the House Ethics Committee for their failure to comply with subpoenas from the panel. The members in question — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Andy Biggs of Arizona and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania — declined the committee’s legal requests to testify about their knowledge of, and involvement in, activities related to the Jan. 6 attack.

Testimony and evidence from new witnesses

Much of the evidence discussed at Monday’s meeting had already been presented to the public, but Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., revealed that the committee has continued to hear from additional witnesses, including former members of Trump’s inner circle who have come forward since the last public hearing in October.

One of those new witnesses was longtime aide Hope Hicks, who worked for the Trump Organization and for Trump's 2016 presidential campaign before serving in multiple senior roles in the Trump White House. In a clip of her testimony played at Monday’s meeting, Hicks described telling Trump that she was “becoming increasingly concerned that we were damaging his legacy” by continuing to promote election fraud claims that they knew were false.

Asked how the president responded to those concerns, Hicks said, "He 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.’”

The committee also presented text messages between Hicks and another White House aide on Jan. 6, in which they discussed earlier unsuccessful attempts to get Trump to urge his supporters to remain peaceful in D.C. that day, as well as a clip of testimony from ex-Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway.

What’s next?

Rep. Jamie Raskin
House select committee member Jamie Raskin, D-Md. (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The select committee will now hand its criminal referrals over to the Justice Department, where special counsel Jack Smith will likely make the final determination on whether to pursue charges. Smith was appointed last month by Attorney General Merrick Garland to oversee the department’s criminal investigations involving Trump, one of which pertains to efforts to stop the transfer of power following the 2020 presidential election and the Electoral College vote certification on Jan. 6, 2021.

Whether Smith will take the unprecedented step of filing criminal charges against the former president remains to be seen, but the committee’s chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., suggested that doing so would be key to protecting democracy from future attacks.

One factor I believe is most important to preventing another Jan. 6: accountability,” Thompson said during his opening remarks. “The evidence we’ve gathered points to further action beyond the power of this committee or the Congress to help ensure accountability under the law — accountability that can only be found in the criminal justice system.”