Speed Reads

The Final Countdown

House Jan. 6 committee interviews final witness, weighs criminal referrals

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol interviewed its last scheduled witness on Wednesday: Wisconsin state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos. "I think that's it, that's the last subpoena that I've done," committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) told Politico. Other recent interview subjects include Tony Ornato, a former Secret Service agent and White House aide to former President Donald Trump, on Tuesday and Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway on Monday. 

Thompson said the committee has mostly finished writing all eight chapters of its final report, and fact checkers are poring over it before it gets released sometime before Christmas. The Jan. 6 committee isn't done working, however. A subcommittee of four members, led by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), is meeting Friday to discuss sending criminal referrals to the Attorney General Merrick Garland, potentially urging the Justice Department to prosecute Trump, his allies, or anyone else for witness tampering, perjury, or contempt of Congress. 

"We want to make sure nothing slips between the cracks," Raskin said Wednesday.

Garland, who would decide whether to pursue the criminal referrals, reiterated Wednesday that the Justice Department is interested in obtaining the Jan. 6 committee's more than 1,000 interview transcripts. "We are asking for access to all of the transcripts, and that's really all I can say right now," he said. 

That gives Garland something in common with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who warned Thompson in a letter Wednesday that the Jan. 6 committee needs to retain all its transcripts and other documents for scrutiny by the GOP House majority next year. 

McCarthy's demand that the committee preserve its records — "an action already required under House rules" — and interview transcripts, which Thompson has already said the committee plans to release in December, is "the first official indication that newly empowered House Republicans plan not only to end the inquiry at the start of the new Congress, but also to attempt to dismantle and discredit its findings," The New York Times reports

McCarthy, struggling to win over enough hard-right Republicans to be elected House speaker in November, has already promised Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) that House Republicans to investigate outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the Justice Department for their treatment of jailed Jan. 6 riot defendants.