Jan. 6 committee considering criminal referrals as panel wraps up investigation


Bennie Thompson,Liz Cheney,Pete Aguilar,Adam Schiff,Zoe Lofgren,Adam Kinzinger,Jamie Raskin
The House select committee tasked with investigating the Jan. 6 attack. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Jan. 6 committee considering criminal referrals as panel wraps up investigation

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Members of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol are set to meet Friday to discuss the details of its final report and to decide on whether to make criminal referrals, possibly for fellow lawmakers.

Committee members will meet with one of the panel’s subcommittees, led by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), to discuss its recommendations for any criminal referrals and how to present evidence of obstruction, possible witness tampering, or perjury, according to CNN.


Lawmakers will also discuss what to do with five Republican lawmakers who refused to comply with the committee’s subpoenas. That list includes several top GOP lawmakers, including Reps. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Scott Perry (R-PA), and Andy Biggs (R-AZ).

Congress is limited in its power to make criminal referrals to the Department of Justice, although that capability is expanded in cases where lawmakers have held witnesses in contempt for refusing to supply testimony or documents. The committee has held a number of witnesses in contempt for refusing to comply with the panel’s subpoenas, including former Trump advisers Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino.

Lawmakers could also make criminal referrals for witnesses who have been accused of committing perjury or witness tampering, but only if investigators can make a compelling argument. Members of the committee are set to discuss whether evidence exists of such acts being committed, sources told the outlet.

Members of the committee have been tight-lipped about updates to their investigation. When asked whether any witnesses are believed to have committed perjury, Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) simply told Politico, “Stay tuned.”

Should criminal referrals be made, they will be directed to the attorney general, who then decides whether to hand them over to special counsel Jack Smith, according to Thompson. Smith recently took over the DOJ’s investigation into former President Donald Trump’s actions on Jan. 6.

Attorney General Merrick Garland expressed interest in obtaining the committee’s evidence during a press conference on Wednesday, noting his office has asked for “access to all of the transcripts.”


The Jan. 6 committee is done with all of its witness interviews after questioning Wisconsin State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos on Wednesday, wrapping up its yearlong investigation into the Capitol attack, Thompson said. The panel must now sprint to finish its final report by the end of the year, with lawmakers hoping to release their findings before Republicans take control of the House in January.

The committee’s report is expected to be released in one massive dump as opposed to a gradual rollout, according to Thompson. Its release will depend on how quickly the Government Publishing Office can produce a physical copy, the committee chairman told Politico. However, some of the report’s contents will be exclusively digital.

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