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House Jan. 6 Committee chair says panel will make criminal referrals to Justice Department

House Jan. 6 Committee Chair Bennie Thompson
Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., arrives as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 23, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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.

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.

Jan. 6 Capitol attack by Trump mob
FILE PHOTO: A mob of supporters of then-U.S. President Donald Trump climb through a window they broke as they storm the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

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.”

While Congress can send criminal referrals to the Justice Department, it is ultimately up to federal prosecutors whether to pursue charges.

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