National Security

DOJ will have to wait for Jan. 6 panel’s final report to access transcripts

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.)
Peter Afriyie
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) is seen during a House Jan. 6 committee hearing on Thursday, October 13, 2022 to focus on former President Trump’s efforts to remain in power following his 2020 election defeat.

Jan. 6 committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said the Justice Department (DOJ) will have to wait for the panel’s final report to review transcripts of its interviews with more than 1,000 witnesses, rebuffing an agency request lingering since May.

The decision means DOJ will, like the public, have to wait until late December to access depositions and evidence, with the agency maintaining since this summer that their withholding has complicated its own Jan. 6 investigation. 

“We’re about a month away [from releasing our report],” Thompson said when asked about turning over materials to the DOJ. 

“So I don’t think that we would be in a rush to speed that time up.”

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Attorney General Merrick Garland said the DOJ has maintained its request to access the records.

“We would like to have all the transcripts and all the other evidence collected by the committee so that we can use it in the ordinary course of our investigations,” he said.

“We are asking for access to all of the transcripts. And that’s really all I can say right now.”

In a June court filing, the DOJ complained the inability to access transcripts was hindering its work. 

“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,” said a letter included in the filing. 

“Accordingly, we renew our request that the Select Committee provide us with copies of the transcripts of all the interviews it has conducted to date.”

In July, the Jan. 6 committee agreed to share 20 witness transcripts with the DOJ.

But Thompson told reporters Tuesday evening they were never delivered.

“We never shared it,” he said, adding later, “The committee just made a decision not to.”

Thompson said the committee expected to issue its final report sometime after Congress leaves for its holiday break on Dec. 16.

Mychael Schnell and Aris Folley contributed.

Tags Bennie Thompson Merrick Garland

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