US Rep. Adam Schiff, who serves on the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection, expressed his frustration Saturday with the slow pace of the various criminal investigations conducted by the Department of Justice into the attack on the US Capitol.
“They have been very slow, though, on the much more comprehensive, and I believe, even more significant investigation of January 6,” the California Democrat said here at the Texas Tribune Festival.
Schiff criticized the DOJ’s overall strategy, saying he believes it was a mistake for the department to start its investigation from the ground up – with those who broke into the Capitol – because “that works when you have one plot, one conspiracy. It doesn’t work when there are multiple lines of effort to overturn an election, multiple plots, that may be all part of the same whole, but nonetheless each operating independently.”
He also questioned how the various investigations have been delegated, saying he doesn’t understand why the DOJ has left Fulton County, Georgia, to investigate on its own former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election result in the state.
“That may be changing too, but it’s a long time coming” Schiff said.
The longtime lawmaker reflected Saturday on how the process for sharing information between the January 6 committee and the DOJ developed, saying he found it “breathtaking” that the initial ask from the DOJ was for all of the committee’s work product.
“It would be equally breathtaking if we were to say to the Justice Department, ‘Turn over all of your files,’” he said. “My first reaction when we got the request – ‘Turn over all your files to us’ – was: ‘Why don’t you have your own damn files? Why haven’t you been conducting your own investigation? Why do you need us to do it?’”
Despite his criticism, Schiff acknowledged that the DOJ’s investigation was ramping up, telling the crowd, “It does appear now that they have interviewed many of the same significant witnesses that we have.”
Schiff’s comments come as CNN has learned that Trump’s attorneys are fighting a secret court battle to block a federal grand jury from gathering information from an expanding circle of close aides to the former President about his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
The high-stakes legal dispute – which included the appearance of three attorneys representing Trump at the Washington, DC, federal courthouse on Thursday – is the most aggressive step taken by the former President to assert executive and attorney-client privileges in order to prevent some witnesses from sharing information in the criminal investigation into events surrounding January 6.
The DOJ is now conducting a wide-ranging criminal investigation into the January 6 attack and attempts by Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election. Federal prosecutors have issued grand jury subpoenas, executed search warrants and seized devices as part of the probe.