US Justice Department Seeking Jan. 6 Committee Transcripts: Chairman

US Justice Department Seeking Jan. 6 Committee Transcripts: Chairman
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) speaks in Greenville, Miss., on April 1, 2022. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)
Zachary Stieber
The U.S. Department of Justice asked the House of Representatives committee investigating the 2021 U.S. Capitol breach to turn over some transcripts from interviews conducted as part of its probe, the panel’s chairman said on Tuesday.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the chairman, told reporters in Washington that the department had asked for the transcripts but the panel had not agreed to turn them over for now.

“It’s our work product. It’s the committee’s work product,” Thompson said.

“We’re in the midst of our work. If they want to come and talk, just like we’ve had other agencies to come and talk, we'd be happy to talk to them, but we can’t give them access to our work product at this point,” he said.

Thompson said the committee planned to turn over the transcripts when it completed its investigation.

The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Thompson chairs the House panel tasked with investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol, including its causes and the law enforcement response.

The Democrat-dominated committee has conducted hundreds of interviews, including some with close associates of former President Donald Trump and former ex-House aides, about the breach and events leading up to it.

Among those interviewed include Ivanka Trump, Trump’s daughter; former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany; and Marc Short, who was former Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff.

The panel plans to hold eight public hearings in June and to release a report on its findings in September, though it has until the end of the year to finalize the probe.

Only two members of the committee are Republicans.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), when presented with members proposed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), rejected several, prompting McCarthy to withdraw the list.

Pelosi chose the two Republican members, Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), herself.

Both Republicans are fervently anti-Trump.

The panel cannot bring criminal charges, but the Department of Justice can.

As of May 6, federal and state prosecutors have charged more than 810 people in relation to the breach, including over 700 for entering or remaining in a restricted federal building or grounds.

About a third of the defendants have pleaded guilty.

Of the few who have gone to trial, most have been fully or partially convicted. One was fully acquitted.

More than 350 people who were linked to the breach are still being sought, including over 250 who assaulted law enforcement officers, according to the department.

Earlier on Tuesday, Thompson said the Jan. 6 panel had not yet decided to call Trump himself to testify.

The committee earlier in May sent subpoenas to five House Republicans, including McCarthy, the party’s leader in the House, demanding that they sit for interviews.

The members suggested they would not abide by the subpoenas.

There is little historical precedent for Congress to issue a subpoena against its own members, so the issue will likely go to the courts before the congressmen are required to comply.

Joseph Lord and Reuters contributed to this report.
Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news. Contact Zachary at [email protected]
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