According to Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the chairman of the House Jan.6 committee, the panel will refer criminal cases to the Department of Justice. He spoke to reporters Tuesday.
Thompson stated, “We have made decisions regarding criminal referrals.”
Thompson stated that the panel has not yet formalized its decision. Thompson declined to specify which people would be subject to referrals, or how many he expected the panel to make.
Already, members of the Committee indicatedthe possibility to send multiple criminal referrals (to the Justice Department) involving former President Donald Trump’s efforts to reverse the 2020 election results. This was based on evidence that they have uncovered in their investigation into the events surrounding the attack at the Capitol.
Rep. Liz Cheney (Republican from Wyoming), the vice-chair and one of the two Republicans on this panel, stated to ABC News last July that the commission would make a decision whether to alert the Justice Department about possible crimes it had discovered.
She stated that the Justice Department does not have to wait for a committee to make a criminal referral. There could be multiple criminal referrals.
Cheney referred to a June committee hearing that featured explosive testimony by Cassidy Hutchinson (former White House chief of staff), Mark Meadows. Hutchinson described outbursts from Trump during his call for his supporters to march to the Capitol Jan. 6. This included a demand that his aides remove magnetometers from the White House. He also addressed a “Stop the Steal” rally at the Ellipse.
Cheney stated that it was “very chilling” and that she believed the Americans would continue to present the details they found to them. Cheney was referring to Hutchinson’s testimony.
The panel is unsure whether it should refer its findings to Justice Department. Thompson stated to reporters that “we don’t have authority” when being asked if the panel had ruled out criminal charges against the former president.
The panel unanimously voted to subpoena Trump at its ninth public hearing. This was its last before the November midterm elections. The committee subpoenaed Trump to obtain any communications regarding extremist groups and attempts to contact witnesses.
In an attempt to block the subpoena from being issued, the former president sued last month. He claimed that the committee lacked the constitutional authority. Trump’s lawyers also claimed that the subpoena was not intended to be a legislative, but partisan — to punish Trump and score political points.
Trump’s lawsuit was filed days before he announcedhis 2024 presidential bid.
This is still a developing story. Keep checking back for more updates.