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House Jan. 6 Panel Plans Criminal Referrals to Justice Department

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol will make criminal referrals to the Justice Department as it plans to publish a final report by the end of the year, says Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS). Thompson said the panel would issue the referrals but did not disclose who the targets will be or if former President Trump will be among them, reports the Associated Press. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), vice chair of the committee, has hinted at sending DOJ criminal referrals based on the extensive evidence the nine-member panel has gathered since it was formed in July 2021.

It is up to federal prosecutors whether to pursue charges. The potential charges the committee has been hinting against Trump include conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress. The committee has referred several members of Trump’s inner circle to DOJ 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 —seven Democrats and two Republicans — has sought to create the most comprehensive record of what 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.

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