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These are the criminal charges the Jan. 6 committee is referring to the Justice Department

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, talks to reporters on Nov. 17. The committee is meeting Monday to vote on what actions to take following its investigation.
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Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, talks to reporters on Nov. 17. The committee is meeting Monday to vote on what actions to take following its investigation.

The Jan. 6 committee has officially outlined criminal referrals against former President Donald Trump and other individuals on four charges.

Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., discussed the charges at the end of the committee's meeting on Monday, as well as the standard that it used to decide them.

Follow live updates on the panel's findings and actions here.

"We propose advancing referrals where the gravity of the specific offense, severity of its actual harm and centrality of the offender to the overall design of the unlawful scheme to overthrow the election compel us to speak," he said.

These are the charges the committee is making:

Obstruction of an official proceeding of the U.S. government: Raskin said the evidence described by his colleagues in hearings warrants a criminal referral of Trump, John Eastman and others for violation of Title 18, Section 1512C, adding that "the whole purpose and obvious effect of Trump's scheme were to obstruct, influence and impede this official proceeding."

Conspiracy to defraud the U.S.: Raskin said there is "more than sufficient evidence" to refer Trump, Eastman and others for violating Title 18, Section 371, which covers making an agreement to impair, obstruct or defeat the lawful functions of the U.S. government by deceitful or dishonest means.

He added that Trump didn't engage in these actions alone, and that the committee's full report details the efforts of co-conspirators who agreed with and participated in Trump's plan to defeat certification of Biden's victory. But he also stressed that the panel doesn't attempt to determine all potential participations, since many individuals have refused to answer its questions. It trusts the Justice Department will be able to form a more complete picture through its investigation, Raskin added.

Conspiracy to make a false statement: The committee alleges that Trump and others knowingly and willfully made materially false statements to the federal government in violation of U.S.C. §§ 371, 1001. Raskin said the evidence "clearly suggests" Trump conspired with others to submit slates of false electors to Congress and the National Archives. Like with the previous charge, Raskin said many individuals refused to answer questions under oath and that the Justice Department may be able to shed more light on this alleged conspiracy.

"Incite,” “assist” or “aid and comfort” an insurrection: An insurrection is a rebellion against the authority of the U.S., Raskin said, a "grave federal offense" that is written into the constitution as grounds for automatically disqualifying participants from holding office at the state or federal level. Raskin said "more than sufficient evidence exists" for a criminal referral of Trump for assisting, aiding and comforting those at the Capitol.

Stressing the lack of cooperation by potentially key individuals, Raskin also said the committee is referring four members of Congress for sanction by the House ethics committee for failure to comply with lawful subpoenas. And he said all of these referrals are not a decision the committee took likely.

"We understand the gravity of each and every referral we are making today, just as we understand the magnitude of the crime against democracy that we describe in our report," he said. "But we have gone where the facts and the law lead us and, inescapably, they lead us here."

Raskin said that the events of Jan. 6 consist of "hundreds of individual criminal offenses," most of which are already being prosecuted by the Justice Department. But he emphasized that "ours is not a system of justice where foot soldiers go to jail and the masterminds and ringleaders get a free pass."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Rachel Treisman (she/her) is a writer and editor for the Morning Edition live blog, which she helped launch in early 2021.
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