The House panel investigating the attack on the US Capitol in Washington DC is considering recommending the Justice Department pursue three criminal charges against former president Donald Trump, including insurrection.
The January 6 panel is also considering recommending prosecutors pursue charges for obstructing an official proceeding and conspiracy to defraud the United States, a source told Associated Press.
The committee’s deliberations were continuing late on Friday, and no decisions were formalised on which specific charges the committee would refer to the Justice Department.
The panel is to meet publicly on Monday, where the recommendation would be made public.
The decision to issue referrals is not unexpected. Liz Cheney, the vice chairwoman of the committee, has for months been hinting at sending the Justice Department criminal referrals based on the extensive evidence the nine-member panel has gathered since it was formed in July 2021.
While Congress can send criminal referrals to the Justice Department, it is ultimately up to federal prosecutors whether to pursue charges.
Over the course of its investigation, the committee has made recommendations that several members of Mr Trump’s inner circle should be prosecuted for refusing to comply with congressional subpoenas.
The case stems from an assault on the Capitol last year by a violent mob of Trump supporters attempting to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential election.
The committee has previously indicated in legal filings that it believed it had evidence that Mr Trump’s involvement amounted to crimes — and a judge later agreed, listing obstruction and conspiracy to defraud as crimes likely to have occurred.
Other potential charges against Mr Trump and his associates could be discussed Monday along with recommendations for civil sanctions.
The referrals would be largely be symbolic since Congress has no ability to compel prosecutions by the Justice Department, though the agency has boosted its own investigations into Mr Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election and subpoenaed top aides to appear before federal grand juries. – AP