The House January 6 Select Committee has been wrapping up the first phase of its job, the investigation phase. Now, it is preparing to move into phase two, which is going public with its findings and including select testimony from those who appeared before them. Now the looming question is whether to refer its findings to the Department of Justice’s Attorney General (AG) Merrick Garland.
The Select Committee’s squad of federal prosecutors has prepared its documents as legally ready-to-go should Garland want to open a “criminal investigation.” Vice Committee Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) argued that Donald Trump and attorney John Eastman both “obstructed Congress and defrauded the American public,” according to The New York Times.
In fact, the federal judge set it up so that it would be hard for the DOJ not investigate the case. As is appropriate, Garland did not comment except to say his department would “follow the facts and the law.”
It appeared that Garland was already involved in a general investigation that included such a referral. The members opposed to making a request of the DOJ noted that it would only slow down the issue. After all, time was of the essence given that Trump was talking about running for president again in 2024.
The federal judge spoke on the issue of whether Trump did indeed commit crimes by trying to interrupt the 2020 certification process:
‘‘[It was] more likely than not.’
Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) considered the judge’s decision, The POLITICO reported:
‘If you read his decision, I think it’s quite telling. He and we have reviewed a huge amount of documents, and he reached a conclusion that he outlined in very stark terms.’
Representative Pete Aguilar (D-CA) indicated that the Select Committee was “finishing up” phase one and moving into phase two, the New York Times added:
‘The members haven’t had those conversations. Right now, we’re gathering the material that we need. As the investigative phase winds down, we’ll have more conversations about what the report looks like. But we’re not presupposing where that’s going to go before we get a little further with the interviews. Although the committee has the ability to subpoena testimony and documents and make referrals to the Justice Department for prosecutions, it has no criminal prosecution powers.’
Lofgren believed that making a referral would “carry no legal weight:”
‘Maybe we will, maybe we won’t. It doesn’t have a legal impact.’
Representative Elaine Luria (D-VA) commented:
‘I would say that I don’t agree with what some of my colleagues have said about this. I think it’s a lot more important to do what’s right than it is to worry about the political ramifications. This committee, our purpose is legislative and oversight, but if in the course of our investigation we find that criminal activity has occurred, I think it’s our responsibility to refer that to the Department of Justice.’
AG Garland has not revealed his intent, staying true to the traditional AG poker face. All he had to say was ‘[The DOJ) will follow the facts and the law.”
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.
Three White Lions is Gloria Christie’s new serialized book available in episodes on Amazon. Go to Kindle Vella and insert her name. She also writes for the liberal online newspaper The Bipartisan Report. Gloria Christie Report her newsletter for people on the go. Written in her own unique style with a twist of humor in a briefer version of Bipartisan Report. Christie’s Mueller Report Adventures In Bite-Sizes a real-life compelling spy mystery. Find her here on Facebook.