The historic criminal referral by the House Jan. 6 committee urging the Justice Department to pursue charges against President Trump is unlikely to sway minds among prosecutors already pursuing multiple investigations, reports Politico. Prosecutors are more interested in the thousands of pages of witness statements and other records gathered by the House panel over 15 months. “I’m sure the Attorney General will welcome any new evidence the committee sends over, but the authority to indict rests with the executive branch, not Congress,” said University of Baltimore Law School Dean Ronald Weich, a former DOJ liaison to Congress. He added, "I expect DOJ to respond courteously to the committee, but the referral will not change the outcome.” “I think a referral will have zero practical effect on what DOJ does,” said Randall Eliason, a former federal public corruption prosecutor. “They are already investigating, and they’re not going to decide whether or not to charge based on whether they got a referral from Congress.” The House’s criminal referral could have less impact than others Congress has sent to DOJ. While some referrals prompt DOJ action, prosecutors already have investigations open into the main areas where the Jan. 6 committee sees potential crimes: Trump’s alleged incitement of the attack on the Capitol and his prolonged effort to undermine the 2020 presidential election results. One aspect of the committee’s referral that could lead to fresh prosecutions is the panel’s claim that some witnesses may have testified falsely and that Trump or others may have obstructed the Congressional probe.
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