Jan. 6 committee’s criminal referrals: What they mean for Justice Dept.

What are criminal referrals? Does the Justice Department have to act on them? Your referral questions answered.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), vice chairwoman of the Jan. 6 committee, speaks during a hearing in October. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

The House Select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol recommended on Monday that the Justice Department pursue charges against Donald Trump for his role in attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. The vote marked the first time Congress has made this kind of referral for a former president.

Members of the committee urged federal prosecutors to charge Trump with four crimes: inciting or assisting an insurrection, obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress, conspiracy to defraud the United States and conspiracy to make a false statement.

Here’s what to know about criminal referrals — how they work, and their powers and limitations.

The Jan. 6 insurrection

The report: The Jan. 6 committee released its final report, marking the culmination of an 18-month investigation into the violent insurrection. Read The Post’s analysis about the committee’s new findings and conclusions.

The final hearing: The House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol held its final public meeting where members referred four criminal charges against former president Donald Trump and others to the Justice Department. Here’s what the criminal referrals mean.

The riot: On Jan. 6, 2021, a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of the 2020 election results. Five people died on that day or in the immediate aftermath, and 140 police officers were assaulted.

Inside the siege: During the rampage, rioters came perilously close to penetrating the inner sanctums of the building while lawmakers were still there, including former vice president Mike Pence. The Washington Post examined text messages, photos and videos to create a video timeline of what happened on Jan. 6. Here’s what we know about what Trump did on Jan. 6.