Garland: DOJ wants ‘all’ transcripts and evidence in Jan. 6 House investigation


Justice Department Seeks Access to ‘All’ Chamber Transcripts and Other Evidence Collected January 6, 2021investigation, Attorney General Merrick Garland said Wednesday.

Garland’s comments, in response to a question from CNN’s Evan Perez, gave a nod to the department’s months-long effort to access testimony the House Select Committee collected behind closed doors.

“We would like to have all of the transcripts and all of the other evidence collected by the committee so that we can use it in the normal course of our investigations,” Garland said at a brief press conference. “We are requesting access to all transcripts and that’s really all I can say at this time.”

Garland touted the Justice Department’s victories in recent days, including the convictions it secured against several members of the Oath Keepers militia for crimes related to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. This case, where a jury found two leaders of the group on Tuesday guilty of seditious conspiracywas the result of “tireless” work by Justice Department investigators and prosecutors, Garland said.

“As the verdict in this case makes clear, the department will work tirelessly to hold accountable those responsible for crimes related to the attack on our democracy on January 6, 2021,” he said.

Responding to Garland’s request to see the transcripts, Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, who chairs the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack, told reporters he expects the Department of Justice first sees the transcripts of the panel interviews when they are made public.

“We will share everything we have with any agency that requests it, just as the public will also have access to our report and materials,” the Mississippi Democrat said Wednesday, adding, “We are about a month away. So I don’t think there would be any urgency to speed up that time.

Garland also highlighted several other cases brought by the department — including new litigation related to the water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi — which he said encapsulates the department’s commitment to the state of law, public safety and the protection of civil rights.

“We realize how awful the circumstances are there,” Garland said, referring to Jackson. “It’s hard to imagine not being able to come to a tap and get clean water. We are approaching this with the utmost urgency, and we believe our partners are doing so as well. So we’ll wrap that up as soon as we can. »

Speaking to reporters, Garland said he met Jack Smith — the war crimes prosecutor who was recently named special counsel in investigations involving former President Donald Trump — as part of Smith’s selection process for the role.

“During the decision on Mr. Smith as special advocate, I met with him,” Garland told reporters. “He met with his team members to get up to speed.”

Garland noted that Smith has signed legal briefs that have been filed since the appointment in DOJ’s appeal of an order requiring a special principal examination of materials seized at Mar-a-Lago.

“He promised the American people, in his own statement, that there would be no pauses or hiccups in his work and I understand that is exactly what is happening,” Garland said.

Smith’s nomination signaled that the inquiry is now looking more thoroughly into the conduct of Trump, who declared his candidacy for the 2024 presidential race earlier this month.

Asked Wednesday whether the new convictions of the Oathkeepers bolster investigations into others who were not physically present at the Capitol during the attack, Garland declined to intervene. Stewart Rhodes, one of the defendants convicted of seditious conspiracy, did not enter the Capitol itself. .

“I don’t want to speculate on other investigations or other parts of the investigation. This particular case involves Mr. Rhodes and the other four defendants,” Garland said, while pointing to the upcoming trial of another group of Oath Keeper associates. “I don’t want to talk anymore, as there is another trial starting on Monday.”

Bringing the seditious conspiracy charge in the Oath Keepers case was a risky move for the Justice Department and one that Garland initially balked at, CNN reported. Investigators, after gaining cooperation from other members of the group and obtaining additional evidence, eventually convinced Garland to sign the charge once they built their case.

Three of the oath keepers charged in the recent case were acquitted of seditious conspiracy, but were convicted on other counts. The partial victory over the sedition charge carries significant symbolic weight for the Justice Department, which can now present the events around Jan. 6 as more than just a spontaneous riot, but rather as part of an orchestrated plan. to avoid Trump’s defeat in 2020.

This story has been updated with additional details.

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