The House Jan. 6 committee is wrapping up its investigation
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Today, a House committee votes on whether to send the Justice Department evidence of crimes linked with the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:
A source familiar with the deliberations says they'll take up a criminal referral against former President Trump on at least three charges. That's one more than previously known. Representative Adam Schiff told NPR earlier this month he thought the evidence is there.
ADAM SCHIFF: The facts support a potential charge against the former president. And, you know, the Justice Department, in my view, needs to hold everyone equally responsible before the law. And that includes former presidents when they engage in criminality.
INSKEEP: Schiff added that it's a political as well as a legal decision for Congress to make that statement. NPR congressional correspondent Claudia Grisales is covering this story. She's covered the committee all along. Hey there, Claudia.
CLAUDIA GRISALES, BYLINE: Good morning, Steve.
INSKEEP: OK. So we'd heard about possible charges for conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding. What is the new charge here?
GRISALES: The source told me it's insurrection. Insurrection is a rare charge, even in connection with the January 6 attack on the Capitol. A sub-panel of the committee's lawyers - this is led by Maryland Democrat Jamie Raskin and also includes California Democrat Zoe Lofgren and Adam Schiff and Republican Vice Chair Liz Cheney - is expected to make this recommendation to the fuller panel today, which will then vote on these plans. Congress cannot prosecute crimes. But it can make a referral in the form of a formal letter to the Justice Department.
INSKEEP: Which does make a big statement if, ultimately, the House of Representatives sends this on - or this House committee does. Is Trump the only person who might face accusations?
GRISALES: No. NPR obtained a small portion of the draft script for the January 6 panel's hearing that shows it intends to accuse lawyers John Eastman and Kenneth Chesebro of being tied to a larger conspiracy. Eastman was a Trump ally who helped lead the effort to overturn President Biden's win. While Chesebro has been considered a central figure in the scheme pushing for a slate of fake Trump electors in various states won by Biden. Chairman Bennie Thompson has repeatedly noted that attorneys who were tied to the plot could be referred for disciplinary action through their various bar associations to lose their licenses to practice law. Yesterday, I was outside of the room where members were rehearsing for today's hearing. And as he left, Chairman Bennie Thompson teased the plans today and told reporters to stay tuned.
INSKEEP: Well, we'll do that, Claudia. But when you say you obtained a draft script - a script, it suggests the committee pretty much knows what they want to do today. And there's not a lot of suspense about where this is going. Who are some of the other people whose names may come up as they vote on these charges?
GRISALES: Some central figures we could hear about today could include former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jeffrey Clark. They were the subject of subpoenas from the panel this year and were also tied to this plot to overturn President Biden's win. We could also hear potential referrals for complaints to the House Ethics Committee against House Republicans who defied their committee subpoenas. Chairman Thompson has said any of these referrals and recommendations in the end could be sent to five or six entities.
INSKEEP: Having followed this committee all along, Claudia, what has this panel changed and added to the record here through a year and a half of work.
GRISALES: Right. They've made quite the impact in terms of how to approach a congressional investigation - to tell the story with voices that were closest to the most central figure in this probe, that's former President Trump, and making sure that they do everything they can to document a historical record, a comprehensive record, of what happened leading up to and on the day of the attack.
INSKEEP: NPR's Claudia Grisales. Thanks so much.
GRISALES: Thank you much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.