Tension Growing Among Democrats

Photo by Harold Mendoza on Unsplash

This is not good.

For weeks lawmakers on the House panel investigating the events of Jan. 6 have been voicing concerns that the Department of Justice may not be pursuing prosecution aggressively enough, but following a request by the DOJ for assistance, the committee gave a fascinating reply.

In a letter noting that some of its work “may contain information relevant to a criminal investigation we are conducting,” the DOJ asked the committee to share some of its materials.

In response, the committee said it wouldn’t be directly handing over everything it has, eluding to only providing a narrower level of assistance.

This latest back-and-forth shows the frays between the two investigations that, despite having significant overlap, have stressed their independence from one another.

Jeff Robbins, who previously worked as a federal prosecutor and a Senate investigative counsel, but now works in private practice, stated, “I can say broadly that the traditional tension between congressional investigative committees and the Department of Justice… about witnesses is that they have different interests.”

Robbins noted that these different interests have to do with the intention of the investigation.
The DOJ wants to “prosecute people,” whereas the “congressional committees want to stage hearings that lay out for the American people what happened in a way that is designed to grab and keep the attention of the media and the American people.”

The House committee has also spent much of its investigation criticizing the Justice Department’s inaction in prosecuting political figures who either instigated the Jan. 6 attack — or, in the case of former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, defying the committee’s subpoenas.

The sentiment of the House committee was best summed up in remarks made by Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) made in March during a hearing to weigh the panels’ third and fourth referrals to the DOJ, “Attorney General Garland, do your job so we can do ours.”