(CNSNews.com) - The carefully scripted, one-sided, anti-Trump work of the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is "legislative" in nature, according to one of the Democrats who sits on the committee.
"We're a legislative committee," Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) told CNN on Tuesday. "So the purpose of our work is to provide legislative recommendations to prevent something like this from happening in the future.
"And we're looking at a whole range of things. It is not just this one particular topic (criminal referral) that's been of interest in the last day, but what can we do to protect our electoral system? What can we do to prevent something like this from actually being successful if someone were to try it again in the future?"
But beyond legislative prescriptions, the committee also is digging for evidence of criminality -- a politically motivated hunt.
Host Anna Cabrera asked Luria, "Based on the evidence presented so far, do you think anything reaches the level of criminality?"
"I do," Luria said. "And I'm not alone."
She pointed to documents provided to the committee that mention "defrauding the American people, obstructing a congressional proceeding, and even...just outright fraud."
Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) confused some observers on Monday, when he said after the second public hearing, "we don't have authority" to make criminal recommendations to the Justice Department.
"Our job is to look at the facts and circumstances around January 6 — what caused it — and make recommendations after that," Thompson said.
Later that day, Rep. Luria tweeted, "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. Liz Cheney, one of two anti-Trump Republicans on the committee, likewise tweeted, "The committee has not issued a conclusion regarding potential criminal referrals. We will announce a decision on that at an appropriate time."
Cabrera asked Luria, "Why isn't everyone on the same page?"
"Well, what I'd say is, it's correct that this hasn't been decided. We haven't gotten to that point yet as far as the committee and making a formal decision."
Luria said those discussions are ongoing: "And I would say that this is something that is a very important topic for us to decide and decide as a whole committee.
"And we will make that decision and that announcement about that decision at the appropriate time. And -- but what I can say, from my perspective, and I made a statement last night, and I think we have a responsibility.
"We have a responsibility to the American people when we, as Congress, in this or any other investigation, if we determine there's criminal activity, that we refer that to the appropriate authorities."
Attorney General Merrick Garland said on Monday he is watching the hearings (the one-sided hearings) with interest.
And Luria said when the committee completes its work -- "when we go through the series of hearings, lay out all of the information for the public, and, as you said, the attorney general, the Department of Justice is watching, I think that it's important for the committee to come to, effectively, a conclusion and a product.
"This is what we have concluded from our work. And, therefore, we make a recommendation in regards to perhaps what additional action needs to be taken."
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said last week that the committee's work is purely political, and the committee itself falls outside House rules:
"First, Nancy Pelosi has broken a 232-year history of the House by not allowing the minority to appoint anyone to the committee," he said. "This committee does not have 13 members, as the power of the House voted for it to have.
"But what's even worse about this committee is, it's beyond its legislative scope.
"There are separations of powers. The House does not have criminal investigation. But what they're doing in this committee is going after their political foes, their opponents."
Rep. McCarthy: 'What They're Doing in This Committee Is Going After Their Political Foes'