May 17, 2022 - Politics & Policy

DOJ asks Jan. 6 committee for transcripts of witness depositions

Photo of Bennie Thompson's face

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) in the U.S. Capitols Rayburn Room during a group photo with the Congressional Black Caucus on April 6, 2022. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The Justice Department has asked the Jan. 6 House committee to turn over transcripts of its witness depositions, a committee spokesperson confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: The panel, which has interviewed over 1,000 people in connection to the insurrection, does not have the authority to pursue criminal charges. But the DOJ could use the transcripts to bring in witnesses, including Trump associates, pursue potential criminal cases and conduct new interviews led by federal law enforcement officials.

Details: The spokesperson said the committee has not agreed to the request and that chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) told reporters the depositions are the panel's property, the New York Times first reported.

  • Thompson believes it is premature to hand over the transcripts, per the Times. It is unclear which ones are being requested.
  • The DOJ did not immediately return a request for comment.

Between the lines: The exchange is emblematic of larger tensions between the DOJ and the committee, CNN notes.

  • Committee members have publicly criticized the DOJ's delay in acting on cases, such as Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows' contempt referral.

The big picture: The DOJ has arrested over 700 people in connection to the Jan. 6 riots.

Go deeper