The Justice Department has cleared the way for six former Justice Department officials to testify.
The Justice Department has sent letters to six former Trump Justice Department officials telling them they can participate in the Congressional investigation into the Jan.6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, according to sources and communications reviewed by ABC News.
The move is likely to remove a significant barrier Democrats faced during Trump’s presidency, when the Justice Department backed the White House’s efforts to prevent any Justice Department official from testifying before its Democratic Congressional committees.
At this time, no Trump-era Justice Department official has indicated that they have agreed to testify in the Congressional investigation.
The first hearing of the House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack on the United States Capitol, with law enforcement officers defending the Capitol on Jan. 6, began Tuesday.
Previously, attorneys asked to testify had said they would need authorization from the Justice Department, sources told ABC News.
“Department attorneys, including those who have left the Department, are obligated to protect non-public information they learned in the course of their work,” reads the Justice Department letter, which was sent Monday and reviewed by ABC News. “However, for decades and in all administrations, the Department has tried to balance the confidentiality interests of the Executive Branch with the legitimate need of Congress to gather information. The extraordinary events in this matter constitute exceptional circumstances that justify an adaptation to Congress in this case”.
The letter was sent to former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, former Chief Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue, former Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark, former US Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia BJ Pak, former US Attorney for the Southern District Georgia’s Bobby Christine and former Deputy Attorney General Patrick Hovakimian, all of whom were requested as witnesses by the House Oversight Committee.
“The extraordinary events in this matter constitute exceptional circumstances that warrant an accommodation to Congress in this case,” the letter said. “Congress has expressed compelling legislative interests in the issues under investigation, and the information that the committees have requested of it directly relates to Congress’s interest in understanding these extraordinary events: namely, the question of whether former President Trump attempted to have the Department use its law enforcement and judicial authorities to advance its personal political interests with respect to the results of the 2020 presidential election. “