A committee is a group of people subordinate to a deliberative assembly. An assembly may send a matter to a committee as a way to explore it more fully than would be possible if the assembly itself were considering it. Committees also have many other uses.

Usually, the assembly that created the committee will send the matter back after the committee has completed its deliberation with a recommendation as to what action should be taken. The committee’s recommendation is then considered by the assembly as a whole. In addition to recommending what action should be taken, the committee often gives an account of how it reached its conclusion. This account is often called a report.

Most legislatures have special committees that examine issues of concern. These might include committees on foreign policy, the environment, or a specific issue like public safety. The committee might make recommendations to the assembly or it may take action itself. It might also have the power to compel testimony or produce documents for consideration. In some instances, the assembly will also have standing committees that examine matters on an ongoing basis.

An assembly might also create temporary committees to investigate specific matters. For example, a committee might be created to explore the potential impact of an immigration bill. Another example might be a committee on how to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills.

The chairman of a committee has the responsibility for running its meetings. This includes keeping the discussion focused on the subject, recognizing members to speak and confirming what has been decided (through voting or by unanimous consent). Committees might also have an assigned secretary who is responsible for taking minutes. Minutes are records of what is discussed at a meeting and may be important in the event the committee has to take a legal action later.

In addition to investigating immigration and examining bills, the House Judiciary Committee is also looking at possible criminal referrals against President Trump. The panel is scrutinizing efforts by Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official who played a role in Trump’s Jan. 6 election challenge, to use presidential powers to overturn the results of the count and for raising money from individuals who knew that claims of voter fraud were false.

The committee is waiting to receive thousands of pages of Trump’s official records and communications related to his attempt to challenge the election results. It is also weighing whether or not to refer his refusal to cooperate with the investigation into criminal contempt of Congress. If the panel does so, it will be based on the assertion that he has violated a federal law that requires a president to comply with congressional requests for information. Trump is fighting the move in court. If the Justice Department decides to prosecute him, he could face fines or a prison term.