- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 15, 2022

The House Jan. 6 Committee will hold a public meeting Monday amid mounting speculation that it will make criminal referrals to the Justice Department as the panel concludes its 18-month investigation of the events surrounding the assault on the Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump.

The committee formally announced Thursday its plans to hold the mid-afternoon business meeting, providing no further detail.

The panel has previously used such proceedings to vote on referring criminal contempt of Congress charges against uncooperative witnesses.

Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson, Mississippi Democrat, told reporters earlier this month that the committee has planned to make a final round of criminal referrals before the panel concludes its work, but declined to comment on whether Mr. Trump was among those being considered for criminal charges by the panel.

The chairman did not provide further detail as to whom the committee intends to refer for charges. But he said the committee members are in discussions about whether they believe any witnesses perjured themselves during the investigation.

He said the referrals would be issued separately from the committee’s final report, which is expected to be made public on Dec. 21.

Mr. Thompson also hinted Wednesday at new evidence obtained by the panel, which it may be planning to release at Monday’s proceeding. The panel faces an effective deadline to wrap up as the current lame-duck congressional session ends, as the incoming Republican House majority has signaled it has no plans to keep the committee’s work going in January.

“It could be evidence that we have not shared in the hearings,” Mr. Thompson said, according to Axios. “It could very well be.”

Throughout its series of public hearings over the summer, the Democratic-led panel consistently homed in on the efforts of Mr. Trump and his allies’ bid to overturn the 2020 presidential election and his role in stoking the violence that befell the Capitol.

The message the committee’s members delivered constantly was that the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol was part of a coup engineered by Mr. Trump, and that he continued to pose a threat to American democracy.

The committee capped its final hearing last month by voting unanimously to issue a subpoena demanding that Mr. Trump turn over documents and testify. The move sparked a legal battle that is likely to outlast the panel’s charter.

In a 14-page memo, the former president called the committee a “witch hunt of the highest level.”

Mr. Trump later sued the panel. He said the subpoena ran afoul of the separation of powers and noted that no other president had been forced to testify to a congressional committee, though some did so voluntarily.

The panel said last month that it is “evaluating next steps” in response to Mr. Trump‘s refusal to appear before the committee.

The Justice Department has pursued charges for two former White House advisers — Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro — after receiving contempt referrals from Congress for bucking the committee’s demands.

A federal judge last month sentenced Mr. Bannon to four months in prison and ordered him to pay a $6,500 fine after being convicted on contempt of Congress charges in July.

Mr. Bannon has since appealed the conviction. His prison term has been delayed pending that appeal.

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide

Sponsored Stories