Rep. Schiff Slams Merrick Garland, DOJ For Inaction With Jan. 6 Probe Attorney General Merrick Garland delivers a statement in Washington, D.C. (Bonnie Cash-Pool/Getty Images)
By Jay Clemons | Thursday, 14 July 2022 04:32 PM EDT
Attorney General Merrick Garland has drawn the ire of Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., regarding the U.S. Department of Justice's probe into the Jan. 6, 2021 unrest at the Capitol.
While appearing on MSNBC Wednesday, Congressman Schiff — who's also a member of the House's Jan. 6 panel — said Garland's DOJ has been slow to take action against the rallygoers outside the Capitol that day.
From Schiff's perspective, the Justice Department has also been reluctant to bring criminal charges against former President Donald Trump.
Here's what apparently irked the congressman: In a previous MSNBC interview, Mueller investigation prosecutor Andrew Weissman said, "The Department of Justice has more tools – not fewer tools – than Congress to get at the truth."
Weissman then surmised that the Jan. 6 panel has already provided the DOJ with "evidence of a plot orchestrated by Mr. Trump and his allies in the White House and elsewhere."
During Schiff's MSNBC appearance, he was asked if Weissman's assessment of the Jan. 6 hearings had been enough to sway Garland's DOJ into investigating criminal proceedings.
"I very much share [Weissman's] concern," said Schiff. "I have been expressing a similar concern, really, for months now. It is so unprecedented, and I've been part of many congressional investigations that have been contemporaneous with Justice Department investigations, but it is unprecedented for Congress to be so far out ahead of the Justice Department."
MSNBC host Ari Melber then asked if the DOJ was "afraid" of the consequences of pursuing criminal charges against Trump.
"I don't think that it's they're afraid," said Schiff. "And I think there's a desire at the Justice Department to restore the independence of the department to avoid controversy."
It's worth noting: The Jan. 6 panel has no formal prosecution power. Plus, the hearings don't have the format of a traditional court trial.
The House Republicans didn't get to choose their representation on the nine-person committee; and the defendants don't have the right to cross-examine any witnesses, or formally refute testimony given to the panel.
Instead, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., tapped Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., to represent the Republicans on the committee — even though Cheney and Kinzinger have routinely butted heads with former President Trump in recent years.
Given these discrepancies, regular Newsmax contributor Alan Dershowitz — one of the country's foremost experts on constitutional law — recently referred to the House hearings as the work of a "kangaroo court."