WASHINGTON — The House Jan. 6 committee plans to release any criminal references as part of its final report, committee members said Wednesday.
Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the committee chair, told reporters Tuesday that he expects the panel to make criminal referrals, but that members are still assessing who would be the targets of the referrals and how many. the panel would.
In addition to considering a referral involving former President Donald Trump, the committee could offer dismissals in defiance of Congress to other members who ignored his subpoenas, to witnesses who he says lied to his investigators and to individuals they believe have attempted to intimidate witnesses in the course of the investigation.
The committee is required by law to issue a final report by December 31, so any referrals to the Justice Department or other agencies should be made before the end of the year.
“The committee continues to meet. [We have a] upcoming meeting and decision points to be made,” said Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-California, a member of the committee. “We’ll announce anything we likely have as part of our final report.”
The final report will be a massive compilation of the committee’s work over the past year and a half, outlining its findings and offering recommendations and possible legislation to prevent something like the January 6 attack from happening again. Thompson said the final document could have up to eight chapters.
Aguilar said committee members now meet “almost daily” and they still have a lot of work to do before deciding on the form and fashion of the pending referrals.
“We haven’t finalized any decisions yet. Our options are on the table. References to outside agencies are possible and as soon as the committee completes our work, we can share our findings,” he said.
In court filings, lawyers for the committee have previously argued that they believe Trump committed a crime. The panel made those arguments in federal court while seeking documents from attorney John Eastman, who was prominently featured in the panel’s public hearings.
Referrals from the committee have no legal weight but serve as recommendations to the agencies.