Jan 6 Committee will make criminal referrals, says chairman Benny Thompson

Congressman Benny Thompson, chairman of the House Jan. 6 Select Committee, told reporters Tuesday that the panel would make criminal referrals.

“Yes,” the Mississippi Democrat said in response to a reporter’s question on the subject. He later said, “We have decided on a criminal referral.”

Thompson did not say which witnesses the committee is considering for referral, and indicated that the panel has not yet finalized the list of individuals it plans to refer.

He said the committee plans to meet later Tuesday afternoon, and he expects criminal references to be part of its discussion.

Thompson also confirmed that the panel is investigating whether any witnesses have self-injured themselves before the committee. The referrals, he said, will be separate from the committee’s final report on the attack on the Capitol due on January 6, 2021, and will be included in a document to be sent to the Justice Department.

However, the panel issued a statement following Thompson’s comment saying that the criminal referral from the panel was not certain. “The committee determined that referrals to external entities should be treated as the last part of their work,” the select committee said. “The committee will decide on the specifics in the coming days.”

Later Tuesday afternoon, Representative Pete Aguilar, who is also on the panel, told reporters, “We have not finalized any decisions yet; our options are on the table. Referral to outside agencies is possible.”

The date for the release of the report of the committee is yet to be announced. Thompson would only say it would happen “as soon as possible” as the committee continues to “try to work through everything”.

To the question of whether a criminal referral to former President Donald Trump is still under consideration, Thompson replied to reporters, “Nice try.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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