Thompson: Jan. 6 panel will issue ‘criminal referrals’ for subpoena defiers

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The committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection and former President Donald Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election will issue “criminal referrals” to witnesses who refuse to obey subpoena deadlines, Chair Bennie Thompson said Friday.

“The committee will probably for those who don’t agree to come in voluntarily, we’ll do criminal referrals and let that process work out,” Thompson told reporters at the Capitol.

In a brief interview, he said the panel had on Friday begun interviewing people who volunteered to cooperate with the investigation. Additional subpoenas would be coming out shortly, he said.

Thompson’s threat to issue criminal referrals to recalcitrant witnesses underscores the select committee’s resolve to seek quick answers from people inside Trump’s orbit. The panel has subpoenaed former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and longtime Trump aide Dan Scavino, as well as Trump-world figures Kash Patel and Steve Bannon. All four are due to provide documents to the committee by Oct. 7 and appear for testimony the following week.

On Wednesday, the committee also issued 11 subpoenas to people involved in organizing rallies ahead of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Those subpoenas require documents to arrive by Oct. 13 and depositions to begin Oct. 21.

The panel is also considering offering limited immunity to some witnesses who might be reluctant to share incriminating information with the committee.

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