WASHINGTON — The House Jan. 6 committee plans to vote on any criminal referrals when it releases its final report on Dec. 21, Chairman Bennie Thompson said Wednesday.
Thompson, D-Miss., had told reporters Tuesday that he expects the panel to make criminal referrals but that members were still weighing the potential targets.
In addition to considering a referral involving former President Donald Trump, the committee could offer contempt of Congress referrals for fellow members who have ignored its subpoenas, for witnesses it believes lied to its investigators and for people it believes tried to intimidate witnesses.
Thompson on Wednesday confirmed earlier NBC News reporting that the committee would publish its final report on Dec. 21.
He told reporters that there will be “a formal presentation” of the report but that committee members “haven’t decided exactly what that will be.”
The committee is required by statute to issue its report by Dec. 31, so any referrals to the Justice Department or other agencies would come before the end of the year.
“The committee continues to meet.” We have a “meeting upcoming, and decision points to be made,” said Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., a committee member. “We will announce anything we have likely as a part of our final report.”
The report will be a massive compilation of the work the committee has done for the last year and a half, outlining its findings and offering up recommendations and possible legislation to prevent something like the attack on Jan. 6, 2021, from happening again. Thompson has said the document could be up to eight chapters long.
Aguilar said that committee members are meeting “almost daily” and that they still have a lot of work to do before they settle on the form and fashion of any referrals.
“We haven’t finalized any decisions yet. Our options are on the table. Referrals to outside agencies are possible,” he said.
Referrals from the committee carry no legal weight but serve as recommendations to agencies.
The timing of the report's planned release is later than members had originally hoped.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., said Wednesday, “I think we’re very close to being finished, but we’re not quite there.”
Plans are underway to release all of the information committee investigators have compiled. That would come at the same time as the report's publication.
Committee lawyers have already argued in court filings that they believe Trump committed a crime. The committee made the arguments in federal court as it sought documents from lawyer John Eastman, who featured prominently in the panel's public hearings.