WASHINGTON (AP) — The House panel investigating the Jan. 6 uprising on the U.S. Capitol is denying a Justice Department request to access committee interviews, for now.
Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the committee, said Tuesday the Justice Department made the request as part of its ongoing criminal investigation into the attack. But he said it was “premature” for the committee to share its work at this stage because the panel’s investigation is ongoing.
The Justice Department’s request comes as prosecutors issued subpoenas and sought interviews with people who had been involved in planning events leading up to the attack on the Capitol last year. The request to the House panel – which has conducted more than 1,000 interviews to date – illustrates the scale of justice’s investigation into one of the biggest attacks on democracy in American history.
The Justice Department and Attorney General Merrick Garland have faced mounting pressure to prosecute former President Donald Trump since the House Jan. 6 committee presented an argument for what its members believe is a criminal case. viable against the former president.
The justice investigation – the largest criminal investigation in US history – has largely focused on pursuing those who stormed the Capitol, fending off and beating overwhelmed police officers until let them be bloodied and bruised, in an effort to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential victory. In the 16 months since the uprising, more than 800 people have been arrested and about 280 of them have pleaded guilty to various federal charges.
Garland gave no public indication as to whether prosecutors might consider a case against Trump. He, however, pledged to hold “all perpetrators of January 6, at all levels” accountable and said this would include those who were “present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy. “.
Thompson said the panel shared certain information with federal, state and local agencies, but they could only review it at a specific location — a common government practice with sensitive documents known as at-home review. behind closed doors. It is unclear what specific interviews or documents the Justice Department had requested.
“They made a request, and we told them that as a committee, the product was ours, and we’re not giving anyone access to the work product,” Thompson told reporters Tuesday.
“We can’t share it, the document, with them,” Thompson said. “Big difference…we can’t give them unilateral access.”
The Senate Intelligence Committee had denied a similar request as part of its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.