(PresidentialHill.com)- Rep. Adam Schiff, a member of the Jan. 6 committee, raised the alarm when a special counsel prosecutor questioned the Justice Department’s riot probe.
Andrew Weissmann, who was known as Mueller’s “pitbull,” appeared on MSNBC and said he had heard from people in the Justice Department following his essay urging prosecutors to “rethink” their “bottom-up approach.” The California Democrat appeared on the same show and warned any hesitation to go after former President Donald Trump based on political calculations is “dangerous.”
Schiff said it’s rare for Congress to be ahead of the Justice Department in a complicated inquiry.
Schiff noted that the Justice Department has “potent tools” to enforce subpoenas in a way Congress can’t. He added that the idea that a year and a half after these events, they would not have talked to these witnesses — even the Fulton County district attorney is way ahead of them — is cause for great concern.
The Justice Department has charged hundreds of persons suspected of storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, and subsequent operations, including subpoenas in numerous states, indicate a heightened focus on invalid alternative electors to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential victory. The Justice Department is investigating, along with the Jan. 6 committee and a top prosecutor in Georgia, looking into moves to reverse election results in that state. Trump has described all three as political witch hunts against him.
These hearings “should inspire the DOJ to reassess its strategy,” Weismann said. “A myopic emphasis on the Jan. 6 violence is not the way to continue if you want to follow the facts and hold persons ‘at any level’ legally responsible, as Merrick Garland vowed.”
He was alluding to a January pledge by the AG.
Schiff said last month he had observed a “higher feeling of urgency” from the Justice Department in the Jan. 6 case, but “I have yet to see any evidence that the former president is under investigation.” The congressman also said he agreed with the judge who said in March that Trump “likely” committed crimes related to the 2020 election, saying there is “sufficient evidence to believe the former president violated multiple federal laws” He acknowledged it is a “tough decision” for the attorney general to decide whether to prosecute.
Schiff added that while he understands that if they take the desire to avoid controversy too far and immunize the former president because it’s unpopular to investigate a former president, it’s a perilous political choice.