(The Hill) – House Jan. 6 Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said Monday he expects the Justice Department will ultimately charge former President Trump after the panel approved multiple criminal referrals for Trump.
“If the evidence is as we presented it, I’m convinced the Justice Department will charge former President Trump. No one, including a former president, is above the law,” Thompson said in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper moments after the conclusion of the panel’s final public meeting on Monday.
Thompson and the panel’s other members took the unprecedented step of voting on four criminal referrals for Trump: obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the U.S., conspiracy to make a false statement as well as efforts to “incite,” “assist” or “aid or comfort” an insurrection.
The decision is a reversal from when Thompson in June indicated the committee would not make criminal referrals for Trump, telling reporters, “no, that’s not our job.”
The referrals serve as a symbolic gesture from the committee. The Department of Justice would need to ultimately move forward with charging the former president.
“The committee looked at it long and hard,” Thompson told Tapper on CNN.
“And from my vantage point, we couldn’t do anything except make the referral,” Thompson continued. “It was clear in our review, it was clear in evaluation of the evidence uncovered by our committee that those actions taken by former President Trump clearly created a problem for this country, and we were all concerned about it. But we’re concerned about it to the point, Jake, that we moved it to the Justice Department.”
Tapper also asked Thompson about two other crimes mentioned in the report, seditious conspiracy and conspiracy to impede or injure an officer, that the committee did not formally vote on.
“It was inconclusive, from that point,” Thompson said of the evidence supporting those charges. “We feel very strongly about the four votes we took on these referrals, and we’ll go from there.”