Jan. 6 committee members explain why Trump could be criminally referred to the Justice Department
Composite image of Adam Schiff and Donald Trump (screengrabs)

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) believes that former President Donald Trump should be referred to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution. His colleague, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), was a little less specific about the criminal referrals expected from the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on Congress and the attempt to overthrow the 2020 election.

On Tuesday, committee chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), explained that there would likely be criminal referrals to come out of the committee.

Speaking to NPR, Schiff clarified that the referrals will likely be those who have refused to cooperate, many of whom have already been referred to the full Congress for a contempt vote. They were then sent to the Justice Department.

Schiff told NPR that they are looking at whether to refer people for specific crimes when they send their final report to the Justice Department. Lofgren explained that they want to look at the criminal laws on the books and ensure if they are referred to the DOJ that they have the crime and the evidence to back up the referral.

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"So, we're working through this," Lofgren explained. "We're not quite done, but we will be done within days for sure, taking a look at all of the evidence, comparing the evidence to the criminal code and then discussing that amongst us. There's no acrimony involved, we just want to be careful lawyers about this."

When asked specifically if they intend to refer Donald Trump for indictment, Lofgren dodged, saying that they were looking at everything. But it was Schiff who made it clear he thinks Trump should be referred for charges. His example was from Judge David Carter, who decided the emails case for John Eastman.

"I can't go in the particulars of what we may refer, but just looking for example at what Judge Carter in California had to say. He was looking at a small sample of the overall body of evidence and he concluded," said Schiff. "In his review —and again his review was to determine whether John Eastman, one of the lawyers working with President Trump, had to turn over material or whether it is covered by the attorney-client privilege. And in this case, in particular with the crime-fraud exception applied, and he concluded that President Trump and others were likely engaged in a criminal conspiracy to obstruct the Congress in this work. So, there you have a federal jurist who is making that determination."

Schiff, who was a U.S. Attorney, said that he looks at the case from a prosecutor's perspective he said that he sees a prosecutable crime on Jan. 6 and a criminal conspiracy beforehand.

"And, you know, I think that illustration I give, the example I gave, is just one instance one particular fence that I think 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 that includes former presidents when they engage in criminality," said Schiff.

Listen to the NPR piece here and watch the interview with Lofgren below.

Lofgren on criminal referrals www.youtube.com