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What will come of the January 6th hearings?

MINNEAPOLIS -- The congressional hearings into the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol are now in break until next month.

As the country awaits more evidence from the committee's findings, we wanted to know: What will come of these hearings? Can criminal charges be filed? Good Question.

The hearings are not a trial, but have felt like one at times, whether that's in the court of public opinion, or criminal.

"Congress is laying out its case. It's providing the witnesses, it's showing the [evidence]," said David Schultz, a constitutional law professor. "Is there probable cause? Is there belief that maybe [President Donald Trump] did something illegal? I think Congress is trying to make that argument and to try to convince the American people of that fact."

Who makes the determination if charges will be filed? Not the congressional committee. That decision falls on the Department of Justice and Attorney General Merrick Garland.

Garland said he's watching the hearings and that the justice department will follow the law and facts where they lead.

"I can assure you that the January 6 prosecutors are watching all the hearings as well," said Garland.

House January 6 Committee Holds Public Hearing
Shawn Thew/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The AG's team has already prosecuted hundreds of insurrectionists. But the congressional hearings have focused primarily on who the committee said ultimately planned and encouraged the attack: former President Donald Trump.

Can the president face charges based on the evidence that's been presented so far?

"Potentially, yes," said Schultz.

One of the most apparent criminal charges would be "obstruction of an official proceeding," such as pressuring then Vice President Mike Pence to reject the electoral votes. The other is seditious conspiracy.

"The question then becomes though, even if the ex-president indicted, is there enough to convict," said Schultz.

Schultz says those closest to President Trump's at the time could also face charges, including his attorneys Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman, as well as his former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

If no charges are filed, is this all for naught?

"Not necessarily. On one level, this might be for the history books also, in a sense of, you know, we need to put this into the history books so we can learn what happened and move on from there," said Schultz. "It will be about a question of how do we fix our democracy so something like January 6 doesn't happen again?"

Trump has called the hearings a smoke-and-mirror show. He stands by his claim that the election was stolen.

The hearings on a break until July.

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