At least four Trump associates may face criminal referrals from January 6 committee

The committee investigating the January 6 insurrection is considering criminal referrals for at least four of former President Donald Trump’s associates, CNN reported on Thursday.

The four individuals potentially in line for criminal referrals are former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, lawyer John Eastman, former Trump lawyer and New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark.

All four men were involved to varying degrees in Mr Trump’s attempts to overturn the result of the 2020 election, which he lost to Joe Biden by a margin of 74 Electoral College votes. The committee has not yet decided for certain whether to refer the four to the Justice Department for criminal charges, nor has it decided exactly what those charges would be.

CNN reported that the committee could also weigh criminal referrals for a number of other people. The panel is currently in its final stages – with Republicans poised to control the new Congress next year – and a report on the investigation is expected ahead of the Christmas holiday.

Mr Meadows was communicating about strategy with Mr Trump in the aftermath of the election, as was Mr Giuliani, who is accused of pressuring state legislators to overturn the results and making baseless claims fo fraud. Mr Eastman and Mr Clark both invoked the Fifth Amendment numerous times during interviews with the committee and allegedly participated in the legal effort to overturn the results.

Rep Bennie Thompson, the Mississippi Democrat who chairs the committee, told reporters on Thursday that the committee is expected to decide on criminal referrals when it meets virtually on Sunday. Rep Jamie Raskin, the Maryland Democrat who heads the subcommittee tasked with presenting criminal referral recommendations to the full committee, wants to see everyone who committed a crime charged.

“The gravest offense in constitutional terms is the attempt to overthrow a presidential election and bypass the constitutional order,” Mr Raskin said Thursday. “Subsidiary to all of that are a whole host of statutory offenses, which support the gravity and magnitude of that violent assault on America.”

The committee is planning to release its final report and take a public vote on the remaining criminal referrals on 21 December, shortly before the end of the current Congress.

The Republicans serving on the committee, Rep Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Rep Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, will not be returning to the House in the new year after the former representative lost her seat in a Republican primary and the latter decided to retire.

Republicans will have a majority in the forthcoming House, though it is not yet clear who the speaker will be. Whoever emerges as House speaker will be leading a Republican majority that is still broadly supportive of the January 6 attack and Mr Trump and promising to open investigations into the Biden family.

Mr Trump, running for president again, has his own legal troubles – both from the committee investigation and from his handling of classified documents that prompted an FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago estate over the summer. His eponymous real estate company was also found guilty of tax fraud earlier this week.