After Months of Chatter and $3 Million, This Is All the Jan. 6 Committee Has to Offer?

Nature's Charm /
Nature's Charm /

The House of Representatives select committee was established by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and was given the task of investigating what took place on January 6, 2021. They held their last public hearing on Monday and they revealed that they would be making four criminal referrals for former President Donald Trump to the Department of Justice.

The four referrals are for:
• Obstruction of an official proceeding
• Conspiracy to defraud the United States
• Conspiracy to make a false statement
• Inciting or assisting an insurrection

Trump was not the only person to get criminal referrals, some of his associates were targeted by the partisan committee as well. The others included: Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Kenneth Chesebro, Mark Meadows, and Jeffrey Clark.

Here’s how the referrals panned out, Trump was referred for insurrection; Trump, Clark Eastman, and Chesebro for obstruction of the official proceeding; Trump, Eastman, Clark Chesebro, Meadows, and Giuliani for conspiracy to defraud the United States; and Trump, Eastman, and Chesebro for conspiracy to make a false statement.

In addition to these counts, the January 6 committee is referring four GOP members to the House Ethics Committee for refusing to testify after they were subpoenaed. Those who received this referral are Kevin McCarthy, Jim Jordan, Scott Perry, and Andy Biggs.

A spokesperson for Rep. Jordan, Russell Dye, said that the Ethics Committee referral “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 U.S. 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.”
The truth is that Congress has no enforcement power, so these referrals are pretty much symbolic.

Fox News contributor Andy McCarthy, the former federal prosecutor, called the referrals “theater” since they don’t have any legal binding.

McCarthy said, “In effect, it is theater because there it doesn’t have any binding effect. I think the Justice Department will ignore it. Even if they brought criminal charges that were based solely on evidence that they believed was reliable, they would still have to combat an argument in the trial that a heavily dominated Democratic committee induced the Democratic Justice Department to bring criminal charges in order to sideline the sitting Democratic president’s likely rival in the 2024 election, which is not a position to want to be in as a prosecutor.”

But this doesn’t take into account how President Biden has politicized the Department of Justice. There will be heightened pressure from Democrats for Attorney General Merrick Garland to bring charges however baseless they may be.
Legal experts believe that the criminal referrals will most likely be ignored by the DOJ and if they are not, it could have a counterproductive effect if they decide to bring charges.

Legal expert, Jonathon Turley, believes that the failure of the committee to offer new and direct evidence of criminal conduct is very telling.

“The fact is that the [January] 6 Committee failed to change many minds largely because of what was on display in the final public meeting. It was the same highly scripted, one-sided account repeated mantra-like for months,” Turley said.

He went further saying that there was justifiable anger over the outcome of the committee’s investigation and that it “missed the mark” by a considerable measure. He talked about how members like Rep. Adam Schiff just kept promising that there would be a smoking gun at the next hearing, but it just never really materialized. And he criticized the mainstream media for never calling the committee to account and downplaying their failure.