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Jan. 6 committee will make criminal referrals, chair Bennie Thompson says

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Congressman Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House Jan. 6 select committee, told reporters Tuesday that the panel will make criminal referrals.

"Yes," the Mississippi Democrat said in response to a reporter's question on the topic. He later said, "We have made decisions on criminal referrals."

Thompson didn't reveal which witnesses the committee is considering for referrals, and he indicated that the panel has not yet finalized the list of individuals it plans to refer. 

He said the committee plans to meet later Tuesday afternoon, and he expects the criminal referrals to be part of its discussion.

Thompson also confirmed that the panel is examining whether any of the witnesses perjured themselves before the committee. The referrals, he said, would be separate from the committee's final report on the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol and would be contained in a document he sends to the Justice Department.

The panel, however, released a statement after Thompson's remarks that said did not say that criminal referrals from the panel were a certainty. "The committee has determined that referrals to outside entities should be considered as a final part of its work," the select committee said. "The committee will make decisions about specifics in the days ahead."

Later Tuesday afternoon, Rep. Pete Aguilar, who is also on the panel, also told reporters, "We haven't finalized any decisions yet; our options are on the table. Referrals to outside agencies are possible."

A date has yet to be announced for the release of the committee's report. Thompson would only say it would be "as soon as possible" as the committee continues to "try to work through everything."

As for the question of whether a criminal referral for former President Donald Trump is still under consideration, Thompson replied to reporters, "Good try."

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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