WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has requested the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault for transcripts of interviews it’s conducting, which have included discussions with associates of former President Donald J. Trump, in response to individuals with data of the scenario.
The transfer, coming as Attorney General Merrick B. Garland seems to be ramping up the tempo of his painstaking investigation into the Capitol riot, is the clearest signal but of a wide-ranging inquiry on the Justice Department.
The House committee has interviewed greater than 1,000 individuals to this point, and the transcripts may very well be used as proof in potential prison instances, to pursue new leads or as a baseline textual content for brand new interviews performed by federal legislation enforcement officers.
Aides to Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the chairman of the committee, have but to succeed in a remaining settlement with the Justice Department on what might be turned over, in response to an individual with data of the matter who spoke on the situation of anonymity due to the confidential nature of the investigations.
On April 20, Kenneth A. Polite Jr., the assistant lawyer common for the prison division, and Matthew M. Graves, the U.S. lawyer for the District of Columbia, wrote to Timothy J. Heaphy, the lead investigator for the House panel, advising him that some committee interviews “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 have been requesting or whether or not any interviews have been of specific curiosity. In their letter, they made a broad request, asking that the panel (*6*)
Spokesmen for the Justice Department and the House committee declined to remark.
The Justice Department’s investigation has been working on a separate monitor from the committee’s work. Generally, investigators engaged on the 2 inquiries haven’t been sharing data, aside from at instances speaking to make sure that a witness will not be scheduled to seem earlier than completely different investigators on the similar time, in response to an individual with data of the inquiries.
Thus far, the Justice Department’s investigation has targeted extra on lower-level activists who stormed the Capitol than on the planners of the assault. But in current weeks, Mr. Garland has bolstered the core group tasked with dealing with probably the most delicate and politically flamable components of the inquiry.
Several months in the past, the division quietly detailed a veteran federal prosecutor from Maryland, Thomas Windom, to the division’s headquarters. He is overseeing the politically fraught query of whether or not a case may be made associated to different efforts to overturn the election, other than the storming of the Capitol. That job may transfer the investigation nearer to Mr. Trump and his interior circle.
A subpoena reviewed by The New York Times signifies that the Justice Department is exploring the actions taken by rally planners.
Prosecutors have begun asking for information about individuals who organized or spoke at a number of pro-Trump rallies after the 2020 election in addition to anybody who supplied safety at these occasions, and about those that have been deemed to be “V.I.P. attendees.”
They are additionally in search of details about any members of the chief and legislative branches who could have taken half in planning or executing the rallies, or tried to “obstruct, influence, impede or delay” the certification of the election, because the subpoena put it.
The Justice Department’s request for transcripts underscores how a lot floor the House committee has coated, and the weird nature of a scenario the place a well-staffed congressional investigation has obtained testimony from key witnesses earlier than a grand jury investigation.
The House committee, made up of seven Democrats and two Republicans, is led by Mr. Thompson and Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, certainly one of solely two House Republicans to embrace an inquiry scrutinizing the actions of their very own get together. The panel has about 45 workers, together with greater than a dozen former federal prosecutors and two former U.S. attorneys, and is spending greater than $1.6 million per quarter on its work.
The committee has obtained paperwork and testimony from a variety of witnesses, together with greater than a dozen Trump White House officers, rally planners and a number of the rioters themselves. Those witnesses have included White House attorneys; Justice Department officers; safety officers; members of the National Guard; employees members near Vice President Mike Pence; members of Mr. Trump’s private authorized group; Republicans who participated in a scheme to place ahead pro-Trump electors from states gained by Joseph R. Biden Jr.; Mr. Trump’s circle of relatives members; and the leaders of right-wing militia teams.
At least 16 Trump allies have signaled they won’t totally cooperate with the committee. Faced with such resistance, investigators on the panel have taken a page out of organized crime prosecutions and have quietly turned at the very least six lower-level Trump administration employees members into witnesses who’ve supplied details about their bosses’ actions.
Some of these witnesses — together with an aide to Mark Meadows, the previous White House chief of employees — have supplied essential data.
The committee additionally has tried to acquire testimony from Republican members of Congress, and it issued subpoenas to five lawmakers final week. Those members have denigrated the panel’s work however have declined to say whether or not they would take part within the interviews, that are scheduled for the top of May. One of the lawmakers, Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, stated he acquired his subpoena on Monday and was reviewing it.
Mr. Garland and his high aides have been cautious about not disclosing their investigative strategies, and so they have sought to emphasise their impartiality in restricted public feedback concerning the investigation.
“We investigate conduct and crimes, not people or viewpoints,” the deputy lawyer common, Lisa O. Monaco, stated final week throughout an interview on the University of Chicago.
“We follow the evidence,” she added. “It is very important to do that methodically.”