OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
The Democrat-led January 6 public hearings have already faced a slew of issues.
The committee’s chairman announced last week that they have decided not to make a criminal referral to the Department of Justice for former President Donald Trump.
Now, voters have made it clear they do not support the witch hunt.
NBC News spoke with voters in politically volatile Washoe County, Nevada, and several voters said they view the committee as being politically motivated against Trump.
“Reprehensible,” said one voter.
“Disgusting,” said a second.
“It has everybody angry,” said a third.
“It might as well be impeachment No. 3 for Donald Trump,” said Judy Cameron, a Reno retiree. “This is their big push to get Donald Trump off the ballot.”
“NBC News talked to more than two dozen voters in both Washoe and Clark counties — the two most populous in Nevada — and found that the committee hearings that captivated Washington not only failed to persuade these voters but pushed them in the opposite direction,” NBC reported.
Committee Chairman Democrat Rep. Bennie Thompson was asked last week if the committee would be sending criminal referrals for Trump or others and he responded by saying the committee does not have that authority.
“No, you know, we’re going to tell the facts. If the Department of Justice looks at it and assumes that there’s something that needs further review, I’m sure they’ll do it,” Thompson said.
He was asked again and explained: “No, that’s not our job. Our job is to look at the facts and circumstances around January 6, what caused it, and make recommendations after that.”
Democrats and Never-Trump lawmakers were not happy about the decision.
Wyoming GOP Rep. Cheney attempted to claim otherwise publicly before she got shut down.
“The January 6th Select Committee has not issued a conclusion regarding potential criminal referrals. We will announce a decision on that at an appropriate time,” the representative said in a tweet, but she was corrected.
But a spokesperson for the committee spoke to CNN and said:
“The Select Committee has no authority to prosecute individuals but is rather tasked with developing the facts surrounding the January 6th riot at the Capitol. Right now, the committee is focused on presenting our findings to the American people in our hearings and in our report. Our investigation is ongoing and we will continue to gather all relevant information as we present facts, offer recommendations and, if warranted, make criminal referrals.”
Democrat California Rep. Adam Schiff also appeared to be stunned by the comments.
“You know, I haven’t seen the chairman’s statements,” he said. “We haven’t had a discussion about that, so I don’t know that the committee has reached a position on whether we make a referral or what the referrals might be. I thought we were deferring that decision until we concluded our investigation. At least that’s my understanding.”
“Our committee has yet to vote on whether we will recommend criminal referrals to the Department of Justice. If criminal activity occurred, it is our responsibility to report that activity to the DOJ,” Rep. Elaine Luria said.
Thompson said there will not be a formal criminal referral and said the Department of Justice has to decide for itself.
“It’s a public document. Anybody can have access to it. And if they want, after reviewing it, to come back and ask to talk to some of the staff or the members who helped produce the report, I’m sure they will,” he said.
The congressional hearings that aired on primetime television last week on the incident at the Capitol were an abysmal failure.
The ratings are in and, despite being on CNN, MSNBC, and just about every major network, the hearings only garnered around 20 million viewers.