January 29, 2023

JUDGMENT DAY: House Select Committee decides on criminal referrals today

JUDGMENT DAY: House Select Committee decides on criminal referrals today

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The House Select Committee on January 6th has wrapped up its investigation, is moving forward with the process of preparing and releasing a public report, and has just reached one crucial step: the decision on whether to make criminal referrals — and who to include in the list.

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The Committee cannot issue indictments or press charges, so its role is to investigate and to provide the information uncovered to both the public and the Department of Justice, and, if criminal prosecution seems warranted, to send the DOJ a referral indicating as much.

The DOJ can then make a decision about whether to follow up on the information it has been given, as we’ve witnessed already in the Committee’s referrals for contempt of Congress.

So far, the Committee isn’t releasing the complete list of individuals who will be referred to the Justice Department for (potential) indictment, but Chairman Bennie Thompson has shared that one thing being discussed is witnesses who may have committed perjury during their interviews.

While he’s not naming names, we do know that many of Trump’s supporters and family members — including Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. — have spoken to the panel.

Of course, the biggest question is regarding the former president himself, and there’s no official word on whether the Committee will make a criminal referral for his actions.

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What we do know is that he has been at the center of the Committee’s investigation all along and that their work has largely been to demonstrate and prove his role in that January 6th attacks and other election interference efforts.

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From CNN:

“Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, said the committee has not narrowed down the universe of individuals who may be referred. Asked whether Thompson believed any witnesses perjured themselves, he said, ‘that’s part of the discussion.’”

A statement from Thompson just a week ago, when Oath Keepers members were convicted on a list of charges including seditious conspiracy, noted that Trump had “summoned a mob” to D.C., and reiterated a desire to “ensure that accountability at all levels.”

The Committee plans to meet Tuesday afternoon and continue deliberations on the matter, so at least some of their conclusions may be available by the end of the day

Steph Bazzle covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph.

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