Jan. 6 committee considers Justice Department criminal referrals


The Jan. 6 committee considers Justice Department criminal referrals; the committee debated how—and whether—to handle any criminal referrals to federal prosecutors before the Jan. 6 committee started its broadcast hearings during the summer. As NBC News reported, the bipartisan group seems to have settled that argument.

Referring to our coverage from April, the House select committee has long had to make an essentially clear-cut decision. If investigators found evidence of criminal wrongdoing, the panel would only need to publish a report citing the proof and wait to see whether or not prosecutors would read it and take appropriate action.

The alternative, of course, is to make a formal appeal to the Justice Department with a report outlining the evidence, requesting that federal prosecutors take action.

Some have argued that the latter would be meaningless and overly inflammatory because criminal referrals are symbolic. Federal prosecutors choose which cases to prosecute on their own, and while Congress is permitted to make recommendations, those requests are not legally binding.

However, many on the opposing side have argued — in my opinion, persuasively — that it is not sufficient to merely point to proof of suspected crimes. In an attempt to do that, Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team issued a reasonably thorough report that highlighted numerous instances of misconduct. However, Donald Trump and his supporters have persisted in pretending that the Mueller report “exonerated” the former president, reality be damned.

Read also: John Travolta, Jamie Lee Curtis, And Others Respond To Kirstie Alley’s Passing.

According to Thompson’s remarks this morning, his colleagues’ disagreement has been resolved: The committee anticipates referring criminal cases to the Department of Justice on January 6.

According to a New York Times report, the chairman’s remarks to reporters this morning follow an investigation by a subcommittee made up of the panel’s four lawyers, Reps. Liz Cheney, Jamie Raskin, Zoe Lofgren, and Adam Schiff specifically looked into the matter and concluded.

The Times continued, “Conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction of a congressional official proceeding is just a couple of the potential charges they have considered.

However, the response to this query merely invites further lines of investigation. When precisely will the committee make its criminal referrals? Who will receive a referral? Who or what will accuse them? Members will gather this afternoon to talk about the following steps. Observe this space.