'Enormously significant': Former prosecutor reacts to January 6 committee's potential criminal referral of Trump
(Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

On CNN Friday, former federal prosecutor Elie Honig explained the significance of the move by the House January 6 Committee to consider criminal referrals to the Justice Department for former President Donald Trump.

The criminal charges they will consider reportedly include obstruction of an official proceeding, and conspiracy to defraud the United States, for his encouragement of the people who ultimately stormed the Capitol and tried to prevent the certification of electoral votes — and it comes as DOJ-appointed special counsel Jack Smith is already running a parallel investigation of Trump's role in the effort to overturn the 2020 election.

"Tell me about the significance of these referrals if, ultimately, the committee votes to refer Donald Trump on these charges," said anchor Jake Tapper. "Remember, we're just saying Sara is reporting these are two charges that the committee is going to vote on whether or not to refer Donald Trump on. Let's assume that they do. Tell us about these referrals."

"So, Jake, there's no legally binding impact to these referrals," said Honig. "Prosecutors can and do take referrals all the time from all manner of sources. It doesn't require DOJ to do anything. DOJ does not need a referral to do anything."

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Nonetheless, continued Honig, "this would still be enormously significant if the committee decides to make this referral. We would have a bipartisan committee saying to the DOJ, we have done our work, we know this committee has uncovered all manner of evidence, and we believe it matches up with these crimes."

"And by the way, I don't think it's at all a coincidence that the two crimes Sara is reporting are under consideration, are the same two crimes that the DOJ has already gone in front of a judge and said, we believe there's at least probable cause, not necessarily enough to bring an indictment, but enough that we can get certain investigative material. And the judge agreed," said Honig. "So I think the committee is trying to sing off the same playsheet as DOJ."

Watch video below or at this link.

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