Jan. 6 Committee Pressures AG Garland to Act U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland convenes a Justice Department component heads meeting at the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., on March 10. (Kevin Lamarque/Getty Images)
By Charlie McCarthy | Wednesday, 30 March 2022 09:05 AM
Members of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Jan. 6 select committee are frustrated that Attorney General Merrick Garland hasn't pursued criminal charges against former Trump White House aides who have refused to testify before the panel, The Washington Post reported.
Lawmakers on the partisan panel — comprised of Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans Reps. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., — criticized the Justice Department during a business meeting Monday night, the Post reported Wednesday.
The venting continued Tuesday, when panel members complained about the DOJ dragging its feet with former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and former Trump White House aides Dan Scavino and Peter Navarro.
"It is important for the department to act and to act with alacrity for the principal reason that we're trying to prevent another January 6," Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told reporters Tuesday, the Post reported.
"Those who push the big lie that led to violence continue to push that big lie. So we feel a sense of urgency, and we hope the [DOJ] does also. To me, these cases … are pretty clear cut in that two of the witnesses simply refused to appear. So it shouldn't be that difficult for the [DOJ] to act."
The Democrat-controlled House voted in mid-December to hold Meadows in contempt of Congress after he ceased to cooperate with the Jan. 6 committee. It was the first time the House voted to hold a former member in contempt since the 1830s.
The select committee voted unanimously Monday to seek "contempt of Congress" charges against Navarro, trade adviser to then-President Donald Trump, and Scavino, who was a Trump deputy chief of staff. The full House is expected to consider the issue soon.
The DOJ did indict former Trump adviser Steve Bannon on a contempt charge. A federal judge in early December ruled that the trial will begin July 18.
Jan. 6 Select Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., encouraged the DOJ to assist the panel.
"We're not a criminal body — we are just looking for the facts and circumstances around January 6 but in the course of that review, there are some very troubling things that we've come upon that we think if [the DOJ] would take a look at it, there would be something there," Thompson said, the Post reported.
"We don't have any knowledge that they are, but we don't have any knowledge that they are not."
President Joe Biden told reporters earlier this week that he "would not tell the Justice Department what position to take or not take," and wouldn't "instruct the Congress, either," the Post reported.