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Jan. 6 committee finalizes criminal referral plan for Trump

The committee, which is gathering publicly Monday, is expected to vote to urge the Justice Department to pursue at least three criminal charges against the former president.
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WASHINGTON — The House Jan. 6 committee met Sunday to finalize its plans to issue at least three criminal referrals for former President Donald Trump, NBC News has learned exclusively.

The committee, gathering publicly Monday, is expected to vote on referrals asking the Justice Department to pursue at least three criminal charges against Trump related to the Capitol riot: obstructing an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the government and inciting or assisting an insurrection.

Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., said in part during the meeting overheard by NBC News that he believed referrals were “warranted.” A source familiar with the committee’s plans told NBC News about the meeting and its location in the Capitol complex.

The committee did not respond to requests for comment. 

President Trump Speaks at America First Agenda Summit
Former President Donald Trump during the America First Agenda summit in Washington on July 26, 2022.Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images file

NBC News previously reported that obstruction, conspiracy and incitement of an insurrection were among the charges the committee was considering to recommend against Trump.

The criminal referrals carry no official legal weight, and it remains up to the Justice Department to decide whether or not to charge Trump and anyone else the committee might refer.

Sources confirmed after the meeting that the discussions in the room were a review of decisions the committee made previously that would be presented Monday and that the meeting served as a rehearsal of sorts.

The committee also discussed John Eastman, a conservative lawyer on Trump's legal team who authored a memo outlining a theory of how Trump could hold on to power on Jan. 6.

Eastman, via his attorney, declined to comment.

The committee also plans to refer several Republican members of Congress to the House Ethics Committee for their defiance of congressional subpoenas, NBC News has learned.

“None of the subpoenaed members complied,” Raskin said during Sunday’s meetings, presenting the findings of the subcommittee responsible for referrals. “And we are now referring four members of Congress for appropriate sanction with the House Ethics Committee for failure to comply.”

Asked for comment, a Trump campaign spokesperson shared a statement from Friday attacking the committee, adding that the campaign will have more to say after the referrals are made public Monday.

The bipartisan committee, which is winding down its work before the end of the year, has rushed to file its findings into a lengthy, eight-chapter report set to be released to the public Wednesday.