Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) claimed on Sunday that the House Judiciary Committee would convene later that day to discuss criminal referrals for persons the committee had probed.
But, with three easy questions, CBS host Margaret Brennan, presenter of CBS’ “Face the Nation,” pulled the wind out of Schiff’s sails.
What did Brennan ask?
After noting that the committee is targeting former President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and Mark Meadows, Brennan questioned if criminal referrals to the Justice Dept. would lead to anything meaningful.
“Would doing that be more than just symbolic?” she wondered.
After defending the committee’s activities, Schiff stated that they are making careful measures to ensure that their story regarding Jan. 6 is not undermined.
“Are we going to make some suggestion by alluding to some that there wasn’t enough proof when we do not even know, for example, what actual proof is in the custody of the Justice Dept.?” he responded. “As a result, if we decide to make referrals, we must exercise extreme caution.”
“But I believe we can all agree that there’s evidence of wrongdoing here,” he added. “And we’d like to make the Department Of justice aware of this.”
Brennan was not persuaded by the statement that referrals from January 6 are important.
“But then don’t we currently know that?” she asked, referring to the Justice Department’s own inquiry into the events of January 6.
The query implies that the Jan. 6 committee’s result is practically irrelevant since the country’s highest investigative body, which has the authority to legally charge any American, has already been investigating.
“So, apart from looking political, what does the committee sending a referral accomplish?” Brennan responded.
Schiff was caught off guard by the questions.
“In most instances, we have been well ahead of the Justice Department in doing our inquiry,” Schiff argued.
“I believe they have used the evidence that we offered in open hearings,” he added without providing evidence. “I believe they will use the evidence presented in our report to further their probes.”
What do other people think?
Former US Attorney Preet Bharara, on the other hand, concurred with Brennan.
“It’s primarily symbolic because it wasn’t apparent how far ahead the Justice Department was when we initially started debating a referral,” he remarked on NBC News. “Since then, the Justice Dept. has hired a special counsel, as we previously stated, and they have added a significant amount of staff to the matter.”
Furthermore, Bharara projected that just about any criminal referral from the committee would be ineffective for the DOJ.
“I actually don’t think it helps the Justice Department,” he remarked. “I don’t believe it drives them to act more rapidly or forcefully.”