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Loud barking, few bites: Charges are frequently not brought after criminal referrals

The House select committee will hold its final hearing Monday on the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol. It is expected that President Donald Trump and his allies will be targets of criminal referrals. Such referrals are often performative, demonstrations of anger at a target against whom there may be no obtainable indictment. In January 2018, leading Republicans sent a criminal referral to DOJ focused on Christopher Steele.

In August 2018, W. Samuel Patten, a Trump ally, pleaded guilty to lying to the Senate Intelligence Committee. Avenatti ended up being sentenced to federal prison for an unrelated set of charges.