Justice Department, Mo Brooks, Congress discussed on The Lawfare Podcast


Going to be the political accountability and then the accountability for people who are at the intersection of the political accountability and potentially had involvement or coordination and so that pertains to potentially members of congress who had knowledge of or contact with individuals who planned or participated or inspire the events of january six so except political accountability part. That's always going to be harder. I view the january six select committee as number one the last best opportunity to provide an authoritative historical narrative of what took place. And i think that that is a primary role that this committee will effectively be able to complete and i think a demonstrated that through the first hearing that it conducted with the four officers last month in terms of providing their firsthand testimony to the physical and mental struggle and fight that they had to engage in to hold off the attackers on january six. The justice department will want to first of all protect the equities of its criminal prosecutions. And so it's not going to make any decisions that as it relates to the select committee's work. That's going to interfere with that prosecution as to ben's question regarding the justice department's role in contempt if the justice department goes in that direction and decides to be willing to enforce contend. I could see that more playing out as it relates to the former justice department employees that it has issued the memo. Release saying that they can testify. I think that is a much harder. Decision and i think less likely as it relates to members of congress because then it will get into very separation of powers issue so i think the justice department will play more of a role when it pertains to former executive branch or even current to the extent that there were any career people involved or knowledgeable. It'll play more of a role pertains than than it than it necessarily will. As it pertains to members of congress the members of congress participating as witnesses in the january committee investigation is going to be the last and hardest piece to achieve chuck. Let me come to you. Last this point about executive branch officials. I think is israel one because i think that gets at this question to say what are the limits that the justice department main counter one day depending on the scope of the january sixth inquiry and is worth noting. Of course you know. They are members of the same party between the house. Leadership and the administration. There's lots of opportunities for them to deconflict. Unofficially before anything really comes to loggerhead so to some extent it may be unlikely that we're ever going to hit those limits. But how is the justice department situated self to address them. And i'll note one thing that i thought was an interesting aspect of actually the mo brooks memo that might have ramifications for this year in finding the mo that mo brooks is participation in the january. Sixth rally was not part of his official duties. The just actually site in office legal counsel opinion relating to the line drawn for hatch act purposes for executive branch officials specifically white house officials as to what activities are political And what activities are part of their official duties for haczek reimbur- and funding related sort of funding purposes and appropriations purposes. And if i'm not mistaken actually believed that. Same precedent o. L. see precedent is actually sited in cases about executive privilege as. Well i'm not hundred percent positive. I believe that's the case. So is that actually an indicator about where the line is as justice. Department plausibly said yet january six rally participation in there by executive branch officials or in the planning for it activities around it that's political activities are vested interest. There is much less or is it. Still going to face heartburn about areas in which the the one six inquiry is going to want to push. Yeah you know. I'm not sure that the mo brooks memo really gives us a lot of guidance about what's going to happen down the road with executive branch officials or with the interaction between the white house and the justice department to may brooks was relatively easy. Call fell on the other side of the line. It would be hard to articulate a basis for why his comments inciting a riot fell within the scope of his official duties. I don't think of it as a great predictor but scott. If you don't mind. I wanted to back up. Just a little bit and comment on something carries it. I think she's absolutely right that the select committee is our last best hope for an historical accounting of what happened on january sex. It seems to be the last hope. Because i can't imagine anything coming after it and it seems to be the best hope but only by default recently picked up the nine eleven commission report and i. I have students in my class that i teach read excerpts from it that i reread the preface. The prefaces really interesting. Fourteen months after the attacks on september eleventh two thousand one congress passed the statute which a created the nine eleven and republicans appointed five members. Democrats appointed five members and those ten men and women came together and issued a stunningly good report. Having interviewed twelve hundred witnesses and reviewed. Millions of documents and without dissent was no minority report. There was dissenting report. That was just a single report. An all ten Individuals agreed to it which seems like A relic not something likely to repeat itself anytime soon and moreover they write in the preface That they were working during a time. And this is a quote. Great partisan divide So great partisan divides are not unique to twenty twenty one either and they also noted in the preface that they came to the table with strongly held opinions. Certain views about what happened in what ought to happen. But they listen to each other they debated and oh my god. They occasionally changed their minds by listening. And that seems like a relic of the past two. And so while i think is right. This is our last best hope. It's not a particularly good. help that we're going to have anything even approaching the nine. Eleven commission's work and that is deeply regrettable given what happened on january. Sixth at. It's deeply regrettable. Given the need for a true. Bipartisan historical accounting. We're not gonna get it and That is. I think really really a shame. We will have to leave the conversation there. Carry cordeiro chuck rosenberg and benjamin witness. Thank you for joining us here today. On the law fair podcast the law. Fair podcast is produced in cooperation with the brookings institution our audio.

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