Jan. 6 committee reaches deal to share depositions with DOJ

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack has “formalized” a process for sharing information with the Department of Justice (DOJ) as the department ramps up its own probe into the deadly riot.

Chair Bennie Thomspon (D-Miss.) said the Justice Department will now be able to obtain copies of depositions from the committee, abandoning an earlier demand that they conduct an “in camera” review rather than take possession of any interviews.

“We just got the process ostensibly in writing and agreed on,” Thompson said Thursday.

“It’s not a catch all. You know if they have some people you want to look at a transcript [for] you just need to let us know,” he said.

The process represents a compromise on both sides.

Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), a member of the committee, told reporters Wednesday that “the last request was, you know, all 1,000 interviews” they’ve done. 

While the committee will get more specificity from DOJ, Justice was able to convince lawmakers it would be more expeditious to simply share the documents.

“We’re just trying to avoid any duplication of work,” Thompson said, noting that DOJ would eventually need documents during any prosecutions.

“It’s not like, ‘Here it is, come look at everything and we have.’ It’s a process we have to manage.”

The breakthrough in the negotiations comes as the Justice Department is reportedly more specifically eyeing the actions of former President Trump in its investigation into the attack.

In recent days, they’re brought former aides to then-Vice President Mike Pence to testify before a grand jury, and prosecutors are reportedly in discussion with White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson.

“I think we’ve made a significant case that there are some problems there. And if that is the direction the Department of Justice has taken, then you know we are a nation of laws, and they are the prosecutorial body to look at it,” Thompson said.

The Jan. 6 panel likewise continues to reach out to new witnesses.

Former Trump chief of staff Mick Mulvaney sat with the committee’s investigators Thursday while former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has also recently met with the panel.

Thompson said Thursday the committee remains in discussion with former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. 

And as recently as two days ago it received another batch of documents from the Secret Service as the panel evaluates whether or how any text messages from agents on Jan. 5 and Jan. 6 were erased.

It’s also eyeing releasing a report as early as August that would review the National Guard action on Jan. 6 and why they were delayed in getting approval to respond to the danger at the Capitol.

“We’ve done an analysis of the guard. And the question is, is there enough there on a national security perspective to generate a hearing or is it just something that we could release the findings and the report to the public,” Thompson said. 

Mychael Schnell contributed.