House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is pushing forward with her select committee tasked with investigating the Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill.
One of the panel’s top Democratic members made it clear this week that lawmakers would use court orders and subpoenas as necessary to obtain certain documents and compel the testimony of relevant individuals.
U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) weighed in on the progress of the select committee during a press conference on Monday.
‘We have already had discussions about the need to subpoena documents and the sense of urgency we have,” he said. “Normally we would request voluntary compliance. We may move quickly to subpoenas when it comes to documents so that we ensure that they’re preserved, and that there’s no delay.”
Schiff expressed confidence that the Department of Justice would quickly step in to support and enforce any subpoenaed issued by the panel, which is comprised of eight Democrats and two Republicans all picked by Pelosi.
“Over the last few years, the Justice Department obviously was not willing to enforce any congressional subpoenas,” he added. “And that was the result of having one of the President’s chief enablers as the attorney general in Bill Barr. So it’s a different situation now, obviously.”
Schiff went on to reveal that the committee’s desire to subpoena sworn testimony from certain riot participants, expressing his hope that such cooperation would be a requirement in any related plea agreements.
“That exhaustive report”
“It’s my hope that this is one of the reasons we want to have an open line of communication with the Department of Justice, that if there are people within these organizations who are cooperating, that have cooperation agreements with the department, that those agreements will include cooperation with our committee,” he said. “Because some of those who participated in the attacks in the organization would be important sources of information.”
In a subsequent CNN interview, Schiff reiterated his assertion that the panel would use DOJ-backed subpenas to compel testominy from relevant witnesses.
“I think we should take whatever steps are necessary, including subpoena, going to court, contempt, enforcement through the Justice Department, whatever is necessary to get the truth, whatever is necessary to provide that exhaustive report,” he said.
As for the ultimate goal of the probe, Schiff said that “our goal and the gold standard is really the 9/11 commission report to the degree that witnesses don’t willingly provide documents or are not willing to testify.”
The lawmaker blamed “obstructionism” by Republicans as a factor likely to prolong the process, adding: “But I would hope that we could do it expeditiously and — and enforce whatever subpoenas are necessary and do so in a time-sensitive way.”