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January 6th Committee Will Send Criminal Referrals to Department of Justice

Elections & Politics Policy Brief #46 | By: Maureen Darby-Serson | December 9, 2022

Header photo taken from: NBC 9 News

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Mark Meadows, John Eastman, Jeffrey Clark, and Rudy Giuliani.

Photo taken from: Getty Images

Policy Summary

On December 8th, 2022, sources revealed that the January 6th Committee were considering referring 5 individuals, including former President Donald Trump, for criminal charges to the US Department of Justice. Mark Meadows, John Eastman, Jeffrey Clark, and Rudy Giuliani are the other four alleged targets of these referrals. What do these referrals means and what will come of them?

Policy Analysis

When a committee refers an individual to the US Justice Department for criminal referrals, they do not have to accept the committee’s referral and file charges. They will likely look at the evidence that the committee has and decide from there whether or not to bring charges against the individual.

In this situation, it is unclear if the Justice Department will follow through with charges. The Committee has not released their final report on the January 6th investigation, so it is not clear what kind of evidence they have against these individuals. These referrals may well be symbolic.

Either way, this is unprecedented. A committee has never referred a president to the Justice Department for criminal charges after an investigation. What this means for the 2024 Presidential election will remain to be seen.


Former President Donald Trump has previously stated that he would grant full pardons and an apology from the government to rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, if he wins the 2024 presidential election, which will be morally unprecedented in modern U.S. politics.

Photo taken from: The Associated Press / The Washington Times / John Minchillo

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