Jan. 6 Committee to Issue Criminal Referrals, Chairman Says

(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol will make criminal referrals to the Justice Department as it wraps up its probe and looks to publish a final report by the end of the year, the panel’s chairman said Tuesday.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., told reporters that the committee has decided to issue the referrals recommending criminal prosecution, but did not disclose who the targets will be or if former President Donald Trump will be among them.

“At this point, there’ll be a separate document coming from me to DOJ,” Thompson told reporters at the Capitol.

Thompson said the committee is meeting later Tuesday to discuss the details.

“The Committee has determined that referrals to outside entities should be considered as a final part of its work,” a spokesperson for the select committee told The Associated Press. “The committee will make decisions about specifics in the days ahead.”

The decision to issue referrals is not unexpected. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the vice chair of the committee, has for months been hinting at sending the Justice Department criminal referrals based on the extensive evidence the nine-member panel has gathered since it was formed in July 2021.

While Congress can send criminal referrals to the Justice Department, it is ultimately up to federal prosecutors whether to pursue charges. In the past year, the committee has referred several members of Trump’s inner circle to the agency for refusing to comply with congressional subpoenas. So far only one contempt of Congress charge, against Steven Bannon, has turned into an indictment.

The panel — comprised of seven Democrats and two Republicans — has sought to create the most comprehensive record of what the lawmakers have called Trump’s “staggering betrayal” of his oath of office and his supporters’ unprecedented attempt to stop Congress from certifying Democrat Joe Biden’s victory.

The committee built its case against the former president over a series of public hearings that began in early June and included live and video testimony from members of Trump’s family, his White House aides and other allies. At the end of the last hearing, the committee voted unanimously to subpoena Trump for his testimony under oath as well as documents. In response, Trump filed a lawsuit against the panel.

With the select committee set to dissolve at the end of the year, lawmakers do not appear to be putting up a fight to secure Trump’s testimony. But his criminal referral, as Cheney and others have suggested, could prove to be a much more powerful closing argument.

Trump is facing more serious legal challenges off Capitol Hill, including the Mar-a-Lago investigation focused on the potential mishandling of top-secret documents.



  1. There are many valid precedents for legislative committees acting as courts and using “the law” against political opponents. In fact, it once was quite common for the powers that be to ask parliament to enact a special law to declare their political enemies as criminals, by passing a law attainting them. While this has been banned since the late 18th century (in the USA), it seems that politicians believe they have found a loophole to revive this ancient custom, and we can be sure that the Republicans will make use of it next month to outlaw their enemies. The Democrats seem to have forgotten that anything dubious they can do, the Republicans can do as well.

    One hopes that the originalist majority on the Supreme Court will put an end to this, since the Constitution clearly prohibits the Congress from acting as a criminal court or a de facto grand jury. If they find a way to do “Bills of attainder” what’s next: drawing and quartering the opposition?

  2. Is this the same Constitution? Donald Trump has sparked a furious backlash after he called for the “termination” of parts of the Constitution to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

  3. Why are they only busy with trump my question is, Im not saying he didnt make big mistakes,

    but look at

    Hunder Biden, And family

    They did so much illegal stuff and we all know it. and look at our country now its also trump ?
    gimme a break.

    jan 6 trump jan 6 trump jan 6 trump jan 6 trump jan 6 trump jan 6 trump

    Thats all the dems know oh and i forgot get vaccinated

  4. January 3rd 2023 cannot arrive soon enough; We Blessed Republicans shall be turning the table & demanding to know why nancy pelosi didn’t accept the recommendations from president Donald Trump שליט”א to mobilize more police & soldiers, so this entire saga is solely & exclusively of nancy pelosi’s making.