The Wall Street Journal: Justice Department faults Jan. 6 committee for not sharing witness-interview transcripts

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WASHINGTON — The Justice Department accused the Jan. 6 select committee of hampering its criminal investigation into the Capitol riot by not sharing transcripts of its witness interviews, and cited the stalemate in seeking to have a high-profile seditious conspiracy trial delayed.

Prosecutors previously asked for access to the committee’s transcripts in April. In a newly disclosed letter sent to the panel’s chief investigative counsel Wednesday, Justice Department officials reiterated their request for the transcripts, saying they could be relevant to specific prosecutions as well as the overall criminal investigation.

Read more: House Jan. 6 panel rejects Justice Department’s transcript request — for now

“The Select Committee’s failure to grant the Department access to these transcripts complicates the Department’s ability to investigate and prosecute those who engaged in criminal conduct in relation to the January 6 attack on the Capitol,” department officials said in the letter, which was disclosed Thursday in connection with the seditious conspiracy case against five onetime members of the far-right group the Proud Boys.

Breaking: The select committee said Friday afternoon, in response to the Justice Department letter, that it would begin sharing interview transcripts with the department, according to a New York Times report.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the committee, said the panel will eventually cooperate with the Justice Department but is currently busy conducting public hearings, including one that took place Thursday. “We’re not going to stop what we’re doing to share information that we’ve gotten so far with the Department of Justice,” the Mississippi Democrat told reporters Thursday.

Don’t miss: Conservative legal scholar, Pence lawyer, other witnesses tell Jan. 6 committee of ‘crazy,’ anti-democratic scheme to hand Trump a second term

Thompson said last month that he would consider allowing investigators to come to the committee’s office to review documents but that the panel wouldn’t relinquish control of the materials.

An expanded version of this report appears at WSJ.com.

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