Some Democrats on the House January 6th Committee are afraid to refer Trump for Justice Department prosecution because it would look partisan, and at this point I have to ask "Did any of you actually look at Washington for the last 30 years, because Republicans are going to be coming after all of you anyway."
The leaders of the House committee investigating the Capitol attack have grown divided over whether to make a criminal referral to the Justice Department of former President Donald J. Trump, even though they have concluded that they have enough evidence to do so, people involved in the discussions said.
The debate centers on whether making a referral — a largely symbolic act — would backfire by politically tainting the Justice Department’s expanding investigation into the Jan. 6 assault and what led up to it.
Since last summer, a team of former federal prosecutors working for the committee has focused on documenting the attack and the preceding efforts by Mr. Trump and his allies to reverse his defeat in the 2020 election. The panel plans to issue a detailed report on its findings, but in recent months it has regularly signaled that it was also weighing a criminal referral that would pressure Attorney General Merrick B. Garland to open a criminal investigation into Mr. Trump.
But now, with the Justice Department appearing to ramp up a wide-ranging investigation, some Democrats are questioning whether there is any need to make a referral — and whether doing so would saddle a criminal case with further partisan baggage at a time when Mr. Trump is openly flirting with running again in 2024.
The shift in the committee’s perspective on making a referral was prompted in part by a ruling two weeks ago by Judge David O. Carter of the Federal District Court for Central California. Deciding a civil case in which the committee had sought access to more than 100 emails written by John C. Eastman, a lawyer who advised Mr. Trump on efforts to derail certification of the Electoral College outcome, Judge Carter found that it was “more likely than not” that Mr. Trump and Mr. Eastman had committed federal crimes.
The ruling led some committee and staff members to argue that even though they felt they had amassed enough evidence to justify calling for a prosecution for obstructing a congressional proceeding and conspiring to defraud the American people, the judge’s decision would carry far greater weight with Mr. Garland than any referral letter they could write, according to people with knowledge of the conversations.
The members and aides who were reluctant to support a referral contended that making one would create the appearance that Mr. Garland was investigating Mr. Trump at the behest of a Democratic Congress and that if the committee could avoid that perception it should, the people said.
Even if the final report does not include a specific referral letter to Mr. Garland, the findings would still provide federal prosecutors with the evidence the committee uncovered — including some that has not yet become public — that could be used as a road map for any prosecution, the people said.
Well holy shit, isn't that the point of an investigation, to gather fucking evidence?
Jesus wept, folks. The GOP is already calling you partisan.
House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy says he has no regrets about having Republicans boycott the special committee probing the Jan. 6 riot, dismissing the investigation as a political hit job.
“This is nothing but a political show,” McCarthy told NBC News in an interview last week just off the House floor. “They already have the report written and they’re trying to create a narrative for it instead of trying to get to the truth.”
But with the Jan. 6 committee preparing to shift next month from the investigative phase to public, televised hearings, McCarthy’s decision last summer to shun the panel will face perhaps its biggest test.
Unlike the first Trump impeachment hearings in 2019, loyalists of the former president will not be in a position to “run interference,” in the words of one GOP source, during the Jan. 6 panel proceedings. Specifically, they won’t be able to aggressively cross-examine witnesses, rebut or interrupt Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and other Democrats, or introduce their own evidence.
Instead, the hearings will be tightly controlled and well-choreographed, focusing on areas like the plot to overturn Joe Biden’s election victory; intelligence and security breakdowns related to the attack; and what former President Donald Trump and his inner circle were doing during the hourslong riot that claimed several lives.
That's opened McCarthy up to criticism from some fellow Republicans.
“I would say it’s absolutely a strategic mistake,” said a senior House GOP aide. “You’re going to have a united front, you’re not going to have a sideshow.
“One of the reasons Democrats’ impeachment hearings failed so spectacularly in 2019 was because you had [GOP Reps.] Elise Stefanik and Jim Jordan and Doug Collins and Mike Turner — all of them running interference because they were sitting on the panels," the aide added. "And they were able to push back on whatever Democrats were trying to press Gordon Sondland and Fiona Hill about. They’re not going to have that this time.”
McCarthy’s decision to yank his members off the Jan. 6 panel — a response to Speaker Nancy Pelosi blocking two of his picks — means pro-Trump Republicans largely have been left in the dark about what's in store for the public hearings. Other than public reporting, Republicans aren't aware of leads the committee is chasing, what witnesses are saying in the 750 depositions the panel has conducted in private, and what’s in the nearly 90,000 documents received by the panel.
“That’s an error,” the GOP aide said. “If Republicans were on a committee and were able to participate in any of this right now, they could be leaking things, they could be setting their own narratives.”
GOP aides bragging about using the press, and the press covers it approvingly.
We're in so much trouble.