By Sara Murray, Annie Grayer and Zachary Cohen, CNN
The House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol. has decided to make criminal referrals to the Department of Justice, the chairman of the panel, Representative Bennie Thompsonhe told reporters on Tuesday.
Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, said the committee hasn’t narrowed down the universe of people who can be referred.
When asked if Thompson believed any witnesses perjured themselves, he said “that’s part of the discussion.”
When the panel makes references, Thompson said it will be a separate document from the panel’s final report that will be sent to the Justice Department.
The committee, which declined to comment on Thompson’s comments, is expected to meet later Tuesday.
A subcommittee of members was tasked with providing options to the full committee on how to present evidence of possible obstruction, possible perjury and possible witness tampering, as well as possible criminal referrals to the Justice Department, according to multiple sources familiar with the committee’s work.
Democratic Reps. Jamie Raskin, Adam Schiff and Zoe Lofgren and Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, vice chair of the panel, all trained lawyers, make up this subcommittee.
The decision to issue criminal references has loomed over the committee. Panel members widely agreed that former President Donald Trump and some of his closest allies committed a crime when he furthered a conspiracy to prevent the peaceful transfer of power, as they exposed in their hearings. But they have long been divided on what to do about it, including whether to make a criminal reference to Trump to the Justice Department.
In the past, the question has led to a vigorous, sometimes contentious debate among committee members, the sources said. Those who previously said criminal references are not necessary to close the panel’s investigation say the committee lacks prosecutorial powers and that the Justice Department does not need Congress to investigate the crimes, as it has its own ongoing criminal investigations into the attack on the Capitol.
Yet, the idea of a Trump crime referencealthough entirely symbolic in nature, it has been present as a shadow over the panel since it was first formed, and many members felt it was a necessary measure to complete their work.
The CNN Wire
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