Jan. 6 committee says ‘will not stand in the way’ of DOJ prosecution

The comment was in response to Justice Department concerns raised in court that the committee had failed to share the transcripts and was jeopardizing the department’s ability to prosecute and investigate the events of January 6. The New York Times reported on Friday that the committee could now share them as early as July. Several weeks ago, prosecutors told a court they didn’t expect the committee to share them until September.

“The Select Committee is engaged in a cooperative process to address the needs of the Justice Department,” committee spokesman Tim Mulvey said in a statement provided to CNN. “We are not willing to share the details of that publicly. We believe accountability is important and will not stand in the way of prosecution by the Department.”

The panel’s statement is the latest in a back-and-forth between the committee and the Justice Department, with the department claiming the panel is delaying its investigation by not sharing its transcripts, while the panel maintains it’s not trying to get in the way. the department investigation form.

Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, who chairs the committee, told reporters Thursday that the panel was not going to stop its work to share its materials with the Justice Department.

“We are not going to stop what we are doing to share the information that we have obtained so far with the Department of Justice,” he said. “We have to do our job.”

Georgia officials will testify at Tuesday's hearing before the January 6 committee

Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, who is a member of the committee, criticized the Justice Department for its blanket request for all interview transcripts in the committee’s possession, telling CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead”: “I really It’s not the way the DOJ is supposed to work,” and asking, “What have they been doing there?”

“I mean, they’ve known about all the witnesses we’ve had for over a year. They could quote them. They could open grand juries,” Lofgren said.

Lofgren also said that the Justice Department has a much easier process for compelling witness testimony and enforcing subpoenas than a congressional committee, but that the department’s interest in the committee’s work is potentially a sign that it is intensifying his own investigation.

“It just makes me wonder, though, what have they been doing there?” Lofgren asked. “I mean, they have a much easier way to get testimony under their subpoenas than we do under ours. So hopefully this shows that they’re preparing. We’ll make sure we’re doing what we can do to help, but not We are going to allow our investigation to be interrupted.”

Despite his criticism, Lofgren acknowledged that the committee will relate to the Justice Department and will not stand in the way of it.

“We are certainly going to engage with them and provide the necessary transcripts and information that may be necessary, but you don’t have the executive branch trampling on the legislative branch and essentially turning our investigation upside down. This is not how things have happened. proceeded. But we’ll contact the Justice Department. We will provide whatever is needed in an orderly manner,” he said.

Lofgren said the Justice Department’s argument that the committee is delaying trials and future prosecutions by not turning over the materials was “legally false.” She said the department has to turn over evidence it has, but “they don’t have to turn over evidence they don’t have.”

“Testimony received by congressional committees is protected by the Speech or Debate Clause of the Constitution,” Lofgren said. “So that’s just a, you know, a serious misunderstanding.”

But federal judges generally expect prosecutors to make a good-faith effort to get the information, said Elie Honig, a CNN legal contributor.

“Prosecutors have an obligation to turn over exculpatory evidence, evidence that may be helpful to a defendant. So if you’re a prosecutor, you have to go out and collect any evidence that may help a defendant, even in a small way,” Honig said. . she said. “What they want to avoid is a situation where they say, ‘Judge, there’s evidence Congress has, we don’t, I’m sorry, we can’t turn it over,’ and the judge could dismiss those cases.”

The letter, Honig said, is likely part of an effort to show that he is trying to get the information from Congress.


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