The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol is weighing criminal referrals not only against former President Donald Trump, but at least four additional people connected to him and efforts to subvert the 2020 election, according to media reports.
Those include onetime White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, Trump’s former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, attorney John Eastman and former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the panel’s chair, said it will hold a virtual meeting Sunday to reach a final decision. It is unclear what charges the committee is considering against the five individuals.
Thompson previously told reporters that the panel would publicly vote on criminal referrals on Dec. 21 — the same day that its final report is set to be published.
He has also recently confirmed that at least one person would be referred to the Justice Department.
In its final public hearing in October, the committee voted to subpoena Trump, describing him as a “key player” in the insurrection, but the former president has not cooperated with the probe.
Meadows has been previously held in contempt of Congress over his decision to stop cooperating with the Jan. 6 committee. He had handed over thousands of text messages and emails after being subpoenaed in September 2021 but then stopped engaging with the panel, prompting the committee to act. The Justice Department ultimately decided against charging him.
Giuliani reportedly sat down for an interview with Jan. 6 members in May, complying with an earlier subpoena for his testimony and documents. The committee has said that Giuliani pushed debunked claims of election fraud in the 2020 presidential race and tried “to convince state legislators to take steps to overturn the election results.” The subpoena also stated that Giuliani was in touch with Trump and congressional lawmakers to find a way to delay or stop the certification of the vote.
Eastman is considered one of the key architects of a fake electors scheme that called for using pro-Trump electors to replace ones for Joe Biden in key battleground states that the now-president won. He was also accused of pressuring then-Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the vote. Eastman was interviewed by the committee and also provided access to hundreds of his emails after a legal fight.
Clark, a former environmental lawyer in the Justice Department’s Civil Division, was threatened with criminal contempt of Congress over his refusal to answer questions in an interview with the panel. Clark sat for another deposition in which he pleaded the Fifth Amendment to most of the questions posed to him. The subpoena sent to Clark said he “attempted to involve the Department of Justice in efforts to interrupt the peaceful transfer of power.”