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Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., makes remarks during the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol markup in Cannon Building, Dec. 1, 2021.

POLITICS: Justice Department ups pressure on Jan. 6 committee to release transcripts of witness interviews

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The Justice Department renewed its request for transcripts of witness interviews from the House Jan. 6 Select Committee this week, arguing that the committee’s “failure” to release the transcripts is complicating their efforts to prosecute defendants. 

The request came as part of a motion to continue filed by two alleged members of the Proud Boys, who requested that their trial on seditious conspiracy charges be moved from August to December. 

Prosecutors agreed with the motion, writing that the defendants could face “prejudice” if the transcripts are released after the trial begins. 

Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., makes remarks during the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol.
(Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves, along with Assistant Attorneys General Kenneth Polite, Jr. and Matthew Olsen, also attached a letter in the motion that they wrote on Wednesday to Timothy Heaphy, the chief investigative counsel for the committee. 

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“It is now readily apparent that the interviews the Select Committee conducted are not just potentially relevant to our overall criminal investigations, but are likely relevant to specific prosecutions that have already commenced. Given this overlap, it is critical that the Select Committee provide use with copies of the transcripts of all its witness interviews,” the prosecutors wrote in the letter. 

“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 January 6 attack on the Capitol.” 

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the chairman of the Jan. 6 committee, told reporters on Thursday that they just got the letter on Wednesday and will work with the DOJ “in due time.” 

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

“We will eventually cooperate with them. We have five more hearings to work through. We have a lot of other things to do.” 

Capitol riot in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. 

Capitol riot in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. 
(AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

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The Justice Department originally requested the transcripts on April 20, according to the letter that was written by prosecutors to the committee this week. 

The transcripts are expected to be released in September as the committee finalizes its report on the Capitol riot



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