The “House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol” labored for 18 months to convince the American people that MAGA Republicans were an existential threat to America. Vice President Kamala Harris pushed this ridiculous narrative when she identified the three days when “our democracy came under assault” as “December 7th, 1941, September 11th, 2001, and January 6th, 2021.” How absurd!
The good news is that the January 6 Committee disbanded as the Republicans took over the House of Representatives last month, ending the show trials and “made-for-TV” broadcasts of disinformation and this chest-thumping charade. Now, House Republicans have promised to release the January 6 videos that Democrats withheld, giving Americans a chance to learn what Paul Harvey used to call — “the rest of the story.”
First, the nation should pause to give thanks that Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) — the only two Republicans appointed by Nancy Pelosi to serve on the January 6 Committee — are no longer in Congress. Cheney lost her effort at re-election, gathering only 29 percent of the vote in a Republican primary, but now pondering a run for President in 2024. Kinzinger, seeing the writing on the wall, declined to seek re-election, but he too refuses to go away, as he seamlessly transitioned to the role of a CNN political pundit.
Certainly, the Committee’s effort to spread the lie that unarmed Americans tried to topple the federal government on January 6 has been accepted by those who Rush Limbaugh used to call “low information voters.” But one of the most dangerous precedents established by the January 6 Committee may be its work acting on behalf of the Department of Justice.
On January 3, 2022, the New York Times described the Committee’s work as looking for evidence that crimes were committed:
[A]s the committee and its dozens of investigators issue subpoenas for documents, phone records and bank records, the panel is closely looking for evidence of criminality that the Justice Department might not have unearthed… [G]iven that the Jan. 6 committee’s staff is led by a…pair of former U.S. attorneys, any recommendation they make would most likely be taken seriously by federal prosecutors. Investigators are looking into whether a range of crimes were committed…
Was that a legitimate goal for the Committee? While the Democrats were still in charge of the House, one of their last actions was to try to prevent the American people from accessing the files of the January 6 Committee. “[T]he vast majority of raw information the panel collected [was] slated to be sent to the National Archives, to be locked away for up to 50 years.” It seems likely that the Committee did not want its close ties to DOJ to be revealed. Fortunately, incoming Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s new House rules required the January 6 Committee to instead turn over all records to the House Committee on Administration, and also ordered the National Archives to return any records already in its possession.
When the Justice Department investigates people, there are many rules it must follow in obtaining evidence. Targets of Grand Juries must be advised they are targets. There are rules about subpoenas to lawyers and members of the press. These rules were developed to protect the Constitutional rights of Americans. But those rules do not apply to Congressional committees, and thus it is tempting for the Department of Justice to collude with Congressional committees to gather evidence not for any legislative purpose, but for DOJ lawyers to use in prosecutions. There are many indications this happened.
When a legitimate Congressional investigation discovers evidence of a crime, it can make a “referral” to the Justice Department to investigate and, if required, prosecute. It is quite another thing for a Congressional committee to work behind the scenes with DOJ to collect information that DOJ could not collect directly, thus circumventing the procedural protections afforded Americans during a criminal investigation.
After the January 6 Committee was in operations for nearly a year, in May 2022, the DOJ requested certain transcripts of interviews and depositions collected by the January 6 Committee. The request stated that those transcripts “may contain information relevant to a criminal investigation we are conducting.” In response, Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) was reported to have agreed to share the information they created, holding back only their draft report. Eventually the Committee apparently shared evidence from its 1,000 witness interviews and thousands of documents. It seems likely these files have also been shared with the Special Counsel appointed in November 2022 by Attorney General Garland to investigate the “transfer of power” following the 2020 Presidential election.
The Committee final report was issued on December 22, 2022, only days before Republicans took control. The report’s Executive Summary (pages 98-112) contains criminal referrals against President Trump and numerous other persons. Having gathered evidence without the need to comply with DOJ rules, the report is described as “an exhaustive legal roadmap” for the DOJ lawyers to pursue criminal charges. Those charges center around challenging the certification of election votes – exactly what Democrats had done in prior elections.
When the January 6 Committee was attacking Trump, the establishment press was cheering them on. Now that House Republicans are looking into misdeeds of Democrats, establishment “legal experts” are warning that the “Republicans’ roving investigation could do significant damage to criminal matters.”
Since Attorney General Garland has now appointed a Special Counsel to investigate President Trump on two separate matters, perhaps he could appoint just one Special Counsel to investigate his own Justice Department. Americans deserve to know whether the Deep State’s agents in Congress have been doing the bidding of the Deep State at the Justice Department.
Before he was appointed to the Supreme Court, Justice Robert Jackson served as Attorney General under President Franklin Roosevelt. In 1940, Jackson addressed the nation’s federal prosecutors, explaining that their duty was not to win cases, but to do justice: “Although the government technically loses its case, it has really won if justice has been done.” The prosecutors in the Biden Justice Department would do well to heed Jackson’s advice. And any DOJ prosecutors who may have conspired to have the January 6 Committee collect evidence on their behalf should be identified, exposed, and held to account.