'Twas the week before Christmas and all through the House...
The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol will release its final report on Dec. 21, committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said Wednesday. The eight-chapter report's release will be accompanied by "a formal presentation," he added. "There will be some form of public presentation, we haven't decided exactly what that will be."
The final report is expected to focus on former President Donald Trump's role in the violence on Jan. 6 and his efforts to overturn his 2020 electoral loss, along with other causes of the Capitol insurrection and ways to prevent a repeat attack. Thompson said the committee will also vote on criminal referrals to the Justice Department in its Dec. 21 meeting, he expects some criminal referrals to be approved, and committee members are still discussing who might merit being flagged for federal prosecution.
"The committee continues to meet" almost daily, committee member Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.) tells NBC News. "We haven't finalized any decisions yet. Our options are on the table. Referrals to outside agencies are possible."
Unless the referrals are for obstruction of Congress, "there is zero substantive value to criminal referrals from the Jan. 6 committee," Politico's Kyle Cheney emphasized. "If they release actual evidence of a crime, DOJ will see it and (likely) bring charges."
The committee has already "described evidence of potential crimes by Trump," and their final report will likely include more such evidence, Cheney added. Federal prosecutors, who "have been clamoring for the committee's evidence since April," are "going to pore over every word" of the report and accompanying materials, and will "make prosecutorial judgments" based on what they find — not on whatever referrals the committee sends Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Only a fraction of the material the committee uncovered over its 18-month investigation will make it into the report, but the committee will "provide a method for the public to have access to" the documents and deposition transcripts that don't make the cut, Thompson told reporters.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy publicly warned the committee to retain all its records for an apparent investigation by the incoming House Republican majority. "He's the public," Thompson said when asked about McCarthy's comment. "If he wants access to it, all he has to do is go online and he'll have it."