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The House select committee probing the January 6 Capitol riot will issue “criminal referrals” for uncooperative witnesses who reject subpoena requests and deadlines, Chair Bennie Thompson (D., Miss.) announced Friday.
A number of high profile individuals believed to have played a role in organizing or promoting the pro-Trump rally that preceded the mob’s storming of the Capitol have been subpoenaed to submit documents relevant to the investigation and appear for testimony.
“The committee will probably come for those who don’t agree to come in voluntarily, we’ll do criminal referrals and let that process work out,” Thompson confirmed to reporters at the Capitol.
Since the panel started conducting its inquiry, it has issued subpoenas to former Trump administration personnel including former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, former deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino, former Pentagon chief of staff Kash Patel, and former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. The four must return the requested documents by October 7 and submit to depositions the following week.
While records have been solicited from potential collaborators in the January 6 episode, Democratic panel member Adam Schiff (Calif.) suggested last week that the committee has been preparing for obstruction attempts.
“. . . We have additional tools that we didn’t before, including a Justice Department that may be willing to pursue criminal contempt when people deliberately flout the compulsory process,” Schiff said to reporters Thursday.
In addition to the former Trump staffers, the committee also subpoenaed eleven people associated with the demonstrations that were protesting the certification of the election results for President Biden prior to the mayhem at the Capitol.
Seven Democratic members as well as two Republicans representatives–Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) and Liz Cheney (Wyo.), all appointed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), comprise the panel, which House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) has repeatedly criticized as a partisan exercise.
Last month, McCarthy vowed to use the power of a future GOP majority in Congress to penalize companies that forfeit private user data, namely phone and email records, per the committee’s demands.