January 6 committee will make criminal referrals to the Justice Department ahead of the release of its final report about the deadly Capitol riot

  • In Politics
  • 2022-12-06 17:32:17Z
  • By Business Insider
Bennie Thompson, Liz Cheney
Bennie Thompson, Liz Cheney  
  • The January 6 committee has decided on criminal referrals, chairman Bennie Thompson said.

  • Thompson did not provide further details on who or how many referrals the panel plans to issue.

  • The committee plans to issue a final report and disband before the new Congress.

The House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack will make criminal referrals to the Department of Justice, the panel's chairman, Bennie Thompson, told reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday.

"We have made decisions on criminal referrals," the Mississippi Democrat said.

Thompson declined to provide details on who may be referred or how many referrals the committee may issue, adding that the panel still has to discuss the matter further. The committee expects to meet later on Tuesday, according to CNN and The New York Times.

Four lawmakers on the nine-member committee - Republican Rep. Liz Cheney and Democratic Reps. Jamie Raskin, Adam Schiff and Zoe Lofgren - have been focused on whether to issue criminal referrals to the DOJ, CNN reported.

"The focus of the committee is on the people who were at the center of the events and who masterminded the attack on Congress and the Vice President on that day," Raskin told CNN's Manu Raju on Tuesday.

Potential key witnesses, including former President Donald Trump, former Vice President Mike Pence, and a handful of Republican lawmakers, such as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, have failed to provide testimony to the committee or comply with subpoenas issued by the committee. Trump sued the committee last month in an effort to block a congressional subpoena calling on him to testify.

Though the committee has blamed Trump for the assault on the Capitol, the panel's members have reportedly been divided on whether to issue a criminal referral of the former president to the DOJ, which has also been pursuing its own wide-ranging probe into the January 6 attack. A full House vote would be required to hold Trump in criminal contempt of Congress.

The House has previously voted to hold Trump allies Mark Meadows, Steve Bannon, Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino in criminal contempt as part of the committee's probe. A federal judge in October sentenced Bannon to four months in prison and Navarro has been indicted. The DOJ refused to charge Meadows and Scavino with contempt of Congress.

Tuesday's news comes as the January 6 committee is preparing a final report as it wraps up its sprawling investigation and disbands before the new Congress is sworn in. It also comes as congressional leaders on Tuesday awarded Congressional Gold Medals to law enforcement officials who defended the Capitol on January 6.


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