Jan. 6 House panel will recommend criminal prosecutions, chairman says

A House panel will present the Justice Department with evidence that specific people, possibly including former President Donald Trump, committed federal crimes in trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Jan. 6 committee chair Bennie Thompson, told reporters on Tuesday that the panel’s probe, one of the most politically sensitive in decades, was still working out details, but that it would recommend charges be brought. He declined to identify the charges or subjects the panel would recommend for prosecution.

Throughout the committee’s proceedings, members have made clear they hold Trump responsible for inciting the attack on the Capitol in an effort to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory.

“We have made decisions on criminal referrals,” Thompson said, without adding any additional detail. The panel was set to meet on Tuesday.

The charges may include perjury, the Mississippi Democrat said, also without providing any details. “Well, that’s part of the discussion. Yeah,” he said. Witnesses included White House staff and lawyers as well as law-enforcement and other witnesses to what was going on in the White House as hundreds of rioters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, to stop the US House from certifying the 2020 election.

Among other potential charges are criminal contempt of Congress, obstruction of justice, obstruction of an official government proceeding and conspiracy.

Also on Tuesday, law-enforcement members who battled the rioters were honored with the Congressional Gold Medal.

The Justice Department is not obligated to follow recommendations of the committee, which spent months on the probe. A DOJ spokesman declined to respond to Thompson’s comment.

A jury last week convicted two leaders of the right-wing Oath Keepers group of seditious conspiracy, along with three other members on lesser charges. This week prosecutors will begin proceedings against four lower-level defendants tied to the organization.

A third trial is scheduled to start later this month against members of another right-wing group, the Proud Boys.

More than 900 people have been arrested for taking part in the assault. Of those, more than half have pleaded guilty or been convicted at trial.