Federal prosecutors accuse January 6 committee of obstructing criminal investigations

FFederal Justice Department prosecutors have chastised the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol Riot for withholding hundreds of key transcripts potentially relevant to DOJ criminal investigations.

Reiterating April’s pleas in a letter to the panel on Wednesday, prosecutors pointed out that the Jan. 6 committee’s failure to share the documents hampers its legal efforts against the Capitol rioters. The letter represents the latest flare-up of tensions that have reportedly simmered between prosecutors and the Jan. 6 committee for weeks.


“It is now apparent that the interviews conducted by the select committee are not only potentially relevant to our overall criminal investigations, but are likely relevant to specific prosecutions that have already begun,” the letter signed by U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves and the Assistant Attorneys General Kenneth. Polite Jr. and Matthew Olsen said.

“The select committee’s refusal to grant the department access to these transcripts complicates the department’s ability to investigate and prosecute those who engaged in criminal acts in connection with the January 6 attack on the Capitol,” continues the letter.

Prosecutors are demanding that the committee give them “copies of the transcripts of all of its witness interviews”, which include more than 1,000 people that the panel interviewed. Prosecutors referred to an appropriate letter sent to the committee in April urging the committee to share documents, which had been reported speak New York Times.

Last month, President Representative Bennie Thompson (D-MS) replied publicly to this letter and signaled that the panel would not respond to this request. Following reports of the new letter, Thompson said the panel will not deliver the requested documents by the end of the week because it still has a lot of work to do in its hearings.

“We are not going to stop what we are doing to share the information we have obtained so far with the Ministry of Justice. We have to do our job,” Thompson said. “We will eventually cooperate with them. We still have five hearings to go. »

“If they want to come in and say we want to look at something, that’s fine. But I understand they want access to our work product. And we told them no, we won’t give this to anyone,” he told reporters, by the Hill. “We can’t give them full access to our product. It would be premature at this point because we haven’t completed our own work.”

Thursday morning, prosecutors agreed to postpone a trial in Washington, DC, for the leader of the Proud Boys, noting the potential for harm caused by the panel’s schedule of public hearings. The trial was originally scheduled for August but has now been postponed to December. The defendants in the case face seditious conspiracy charges for their behavior during events surrounding the Capitol Riot.

The rift between the Justice Department and the January 6 committee seems to go both ways. Some panel members, such as Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), have previously voiced concerns with the rhythm of department prosecutors. Earlier this month, Schiff also slammed the department for failing to pursue contempt of Congress charges against former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino. There is also speculation about whether the Justice Department will prosecute former President Donald Trump and his allies as the panel works to draw links between efforts to overturn the 2020 election results and the Capitol Riot on January 6, 2021.


The Washington Examiner contacted representatives of the January 6 Committee and the Department of Justice for comment.

So far, more than 865 people have been charged for activities related to the events of January 6, Business Insider reported. The ministry has taken steps to hire more than 100 additional prosecutors to bolster its efforts. Meanwhile, the January 6 committee began holding public hearings intended to rejuvenate the waning public interest in the riot. The panel held its third public hearing of the summer on Thursday and has at least five additional hearings scheduled.

Mark M. Gagnon