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Jan. 6 Panel to Discuss Criminal, Ethics Referrals Friday

Nov. 30, 2022, 8:44 PM

The House committee investigating the Capitol insurrection will discuss potential criminal referrals on Friday as it completes a final report on its probe.

Chairman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi told reporters Wednesday the panel would also consider whether to make referrals to state bar associations for potential ethics violations by attorneys that it uncovered in its investigation of former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

“There are a lot of things that we are working through right now,” Thompson said.

The possibility of a criminal referral to the Justice Department against Trump or key allies of the former president is among the main outstanding questions the panel has to address as it rushes to complete its final report before the end of the year.

Thompson said the written report is largely finished and the panel expects to soon complete its final witness interview, with Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who said in a television interview Trump called on him as late as July 2022 seeking to retroactively decertify Wisconsin’s 2020 election results.

Representative Jamie Raskin, who is chairing a subcommittee considering criminal referrals, said his group would share recommendations with the full panel this week but wouldn’t address what they would seek.

But Raskin said Trump’s actions trying to overturn the election were “the most dangerous set of political assaults on American political institutions in the history of the White House. I’ll just leave it at that.”

The panel heard behind closed doors Tuesday from Tony Ornato, a former Trump deputy chief of staff whom White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified told her that Trump lunged at a Secret Service agent when his security detail refused to take him to the Capitol on Jan. 6. People close to Ornato under condition of anonymity disputed the account to media.

Thompson said nothing in Ornato’s interview changed his mind about Hutchinson’s testimony.

“I don’t think there’s anything that in the committee’s mind changed Cassie Hutchinson’s testimony,” Thompson said.

CBS.com, citing sources it didn’t identify, said Ornato told the panel he didn’t recall the conversation Hutchinson testified about.

The panel will release full transcripts of all its interviews with witnesses when its report is published, except in cases in which the panel agreed with witnesses not to release their interviews, he said.

Thompson said he expects the report to be published before Christmas.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Mike Dorning in Washington at mdorning@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net

Jon Morgan, Megan Scully

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.