The Jan. 6 commission WILL recommend criminal charges against some of those involved, but won’t say who, Democrat chairman confirms
- Commission made ‘decisions on criminal referrals’
- Rep. Bennie Thompson says members are still deciding who gets referred
- DOJ will make its own cost decisions
- The panel is preparing for the publication of a comprehensive final report
- House Republicans plan to abolish the committee in early January
House January 6 Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson indicated on Tuesday that the panel is preparing criminal referrals for the Justice Department — but then called back his comments in another sign of internal division.
Thompson, 74, the Mississippi Democrat, presides over the panel in the final days before Republicans take over the House with plans to abolish it, made the note to reporters as the committee prepares to release a final report that will span hundreds of pages.
“We’ve made decisions about criminal referrals,” Thompson said.
But he also hid in another comment. “What we’ve decided is we’ll probably refer,” he said before the panel was expected to meet on Tuesday.
“We’ve made decisions about criminal referrals,” House Jan. 6 committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson to reporters Tuesday
His comments come amid reports that some committee staffers are frustrated with Vice President Liz Cheney’s focus on former President Donald Trump, whose election efforts and words and actions on and leading up to Jan. 6 were key features of public hearings.
Thompson says it was “part of the discussion” whether witnesses committed perjury.
Trump did not appear before the commission, which only subpoenaed him in recent weeks.
A criminal reference has no legal weight. Justice Department prosecutors would decide for themselves whether they have enough evidence to press charges against individuals.
It was not clear whether the panel would make a criminal reference regarding former President Donald Trump, who is already under investigation by the Justice Department
Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., Chair of the January 6 Committee, and Members Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., and Adam Schiff, D-Calif., attend a ceremony to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the Capitol of the United States Police, Washington DC Metropolitan Police and the January 6 heroes in the US Capitol Rotunda on Tuesday. There are reports of division in the committee over the next steps
Thompson’s comment came on a day when all four top congressional leaders gathered in the Capitol rotunda to present the congressional gold medals to officers of the U.S. Capitol Police and D.C. rioters fought.
The committee continues to work on its final report, which should be released before House Republicans take the lead on Jan. 3.
House minority leader Kevin McCarthy said he plans to dissolve the committee when the Republicans take over, and focus all investigations on security flaws at the Capitol.
“The committee has determined that references to outside entities should be considered a final part of its work. The committee will make decisions on specific matters in the coming days,” a spokesman for the panel said CNN.