According to a Sunday morning report from the New York Times, investigators working for the House select committee looking into the Jan 6th insurrection, which forced lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to flee for their lives, believe they have enough evidence to make a criminal referral on Donald Trump to the Justice Department.
However, the Times' Michael Schmidt and Luke Broadwater report, the leadership of the committee is split on whether to submit their findings to the DOJ over fears it may interfere with their expanding Trump investigation.
"The leaders of the House committee investigating the Capitol attack have grown divided over whether to make a criminal referral to the Justice Department of former President Donald J. Trump, even though they have concluded that they have enough evidence to do so, people involved in the discussions said," the report states adding that there are worries it might "backfire."
"The panel plans to issue a detailed report on its findings, but in recent months it has regularly signaled that it was also weighing a criminal referral that would pressure Attorney General Merrick B. Garland to open a criminal investigation into Mr. Trump," the Times report continued before adding, "But now, with the Justice Department appearing to ramp up a wide-ranging investigation, some Democrats are questioning whether there is any need to make a referral — and whether doing so would saddle a criminal case with further partisan baggage at a time when Mr. Trump is openly flirting with running again in 2024."
According to the report, a ruling by Judge David O. Carter of the Federal District Court for Central California two weeks ago changed the game, and now the committee is hesitant to make their referral in the belief that the DOJ under Attorney General Merrick Garland will be bringing its own charges against the former president.
"The members and aides who were reluctant to support a referral contended that making one would create the appearance that Mr. Garland was investigating Mr. Trump at the behest of a Democratic Congress and that if the committee could avoid that perception it should, the people said," the Times reports. "Even if the final report does not include a specific referral letter to Mr. Garland, the findings would still provide federal prosecutors with the evidence the committee uncovered — including some that has not yet become public — that could be used as a road map for any prosecution, the people said."
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