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Jan. 6 Panel Could Start Sharing Transcripts With Justice Dept. in July

WASHINGTON — The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault may begin sharing some transcripts of witness interviews with federal prosecutors as early as subsequent month as Justice Department officers ratchet up public stress on the panel to show over the paperwork.

Negotiations between Justice Department officers and Timothy J. Heaphy, the lead investigator for the House panel and a former federal prosecutor, have intensified in latest days, as the 2 sides wrangle over the timing and content material of the fabric to be turned over, in line with a number of folks conversant in the talks however not approved to publicly talk about the matter.

Prosecutors have beforehand stated that the committee planned to publicly release the paperwork requested by September.

“The select committee is engaged in a cooperative process to address the needs of the Department of Justice,” stated a spokesman for the committee, Tim Mulvey. (*6*)

Justice Department officers and high investigators, together with Matthew M. Graves, the U.S. legal professional for the District of Columbia, are rising more and more impatient to acquire the transcripts, which they see as an important supply of data wanted to information their very own interviews with former President Donald J. Trump’s allies, in line with folks conversant in the negotiations.

The Justice Department despatched the committee a two-page letter on Wednesday accusing the panel of hampering the federal felony investigation into the assault by refusing to share interview transcripts with prosecutors.

In the letter, division officers prompt that by withholding the transcripts, the committee was making it tougher for prosecutors to gauge the credibility of witnesses who could have each spoken to the panel and secretly appeared earlier than a grand jury.

“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 Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol,” the Justice Department officers wrote in the letter, which was made public in a court docket submitting.

Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the chairman of the committee, instructed reporters on Thursday that the House panel was in the center of its work and needed to finish extra of its investigation earlier than turning over voluminous proof to the division.

“We are not going to stop what we are doing to share the information that we’ve gotten so far with the Department of Justice,” he stated. “We have to do our work.”

Mr. Thompson added that the committee would “cooperate with them, but the committee has its own timetable.” He has beforehand prompt that sure transcripts could possibly be made out there to the division upon request.

Democrats on the committee had been shocked by the confrontational tone of the letter from the Justice Department and believed that the negotiations had been continuing amicably after some preliminary public sniping, in line with an individual conversant in the discussions.

Lawmakers on the committee and the employees members chargeable for conducting tons of of interviews have stated that they’re at the moment consumed with the duty of creating the clearest doable public case that Mr. Trump and his allies incited an rebellion — and plan to pivot to the division’s request as they start winding down their sequence of public hearings later this month.

Other, extra substantive points stay. Committee aides are nonetheless interviewing witnesses and hope the high-profile hearings will immediate extra to come back ahead, and they’re involved that some folks is likely to be reluctant to testify in the event that they know their statements will likely be rapidly shared with prosecutors.

And the logistical challenges are daunting: The committee has carried out greater than 1,000 interviews, tons of of which had been transcribed, and accommodating the Justice Department’s request would require a diversion of labor on a employees that’s already exhausted and overstretched. Because of the quantity of interviews — which frequently quantity in the handfuls per week — it has at instances taken the committee months to arrange a witness’s transcript and invite his or her lawyer to assessment it in particular person.

Moreover, some committee members have been pissed off by the Justice Department’s refusal, to date, to share info and interviews the committee has requested.

The letter on Wednesday happened two months after division officers sent their first written request for the transcripts. On April 20, Mr. Graves and Kenneth A. Polite Jr., the assistant legal professional basic for the felony division, wrote to the panel and stated that transcripts “may contain information relevant to a criminal investigation we are conducting.”

Mr. Polite and Mr. Graves didn’t point out the variety of transcripts they had been requesting or whether or not any interviews had been of explicit curiosity. In their letter, they made a broad request, asking that the panel “provide to us transcripts of these interviews, and of any additional interviews you conduct in the future.”

The committee has no authority to convey felony prices in opposition to anybody concerned in the storming of the Capitol. Committee members have stated that the Justice Department should do extra to hold people accountable for his or her function in the assault.

The division’s sprawling investigation into the riot has to date resulted in the arrests of greater than 840 people. The heads of two of the nation’s most outstanding far-right teams, the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, have been charged with seditious conspiracy.

Prosecutors are additionally inspecting whether or not legal guidelines had been damaged in the weeks earlier than the assault as Mr. Trump’s allies appeared to far-fetched authorized arguments and voter fraud conspiracy theories as they sought to maintain him in energy. Prosecutors have subpoenaed information associated to among the attorneys who labored on these efforts.

Alan Feuer contributed reporting.

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