The House committee tasked with investigating the events that led up to the Jan. 6 Capitol protests has taken an interesting turn over the past week as the committee did its best to present evidence against former President Donald Trump during both a primetime hearing last week and a daytime hearing on Monday.
Though many are under the belief that the 1/6 committee’s primary goal is to present ample evidence to Attorney General Merrick Garland to issue an indictment against Trump, committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) caused a ruckus on Monday evening by denying that such a move is in the cards, the Washington Examiner reports.
NEW: 1/6 Chair Bennie Thompson rules out his committee making a formal criminal referral of Trump to DOJ:
“No, you know, we’re gonna tell the facts. If the Department of Justice looks at it and assumes that there’s something that needs further review. I’m sure they’ll do it.”
— Ryan Nobles (@ryanobles) June 13, 2022
Thompson, pressed on the issue, even doubled down, saying, “No, that’s not our job. Our job is to look at the facts and circumstances around January 6, what caused it and make recommendations after that.”
The Democratic lawmaker added: “That’ll be up for the Justice Department to decide. But I think that the Justice Department needs to investigate any credible allegation of criminal activity, whether it’s by a former president or by anyone else.”
That didn’t sit well with Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), one of two Republicans on the committee, who both happen to be very public GOP critics of the former president.
“The January 6th Select Committee has not issued a conclusion regarding potential criminal referrals. We will announce a decision on that at an appropriate time,” Cheney tweeted, causing even more confusion for the American public, many of whom were already confused as to why the hearings are taking place regarding a bad thing that happened 1.5 years ago, especially as crippling inflation grips the country.
Previous reports indicated that some of the members of the committee felt that it had secured enough evidence to refer the case to Garland’s DOJ, where he would then make the decision to actually open a criminal investigation.
Many believe that he’ll ultimately do just that, if anything to muddy Trump’s name ahead of the 2024 presidential election.