Jan. 6 panel takes 'mobsters and terrorists' approach as it tries to crack Trump's inner circle: report
Trump speaks at the "Stop the Steal" rally on Jan. 6. (Screenshot via YouTube.com)

The House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection is employing techniques more common to criminal prosecutions than congressional inquiries, the New York Times reported Saturday.

The committee is "employing aggressive tactics typically used against mobsters and terrorists as it seeks to break through stonewalling from former President Donald J. Trump and his allies and develop evidence that could prompt a criminal case," according to the NYT.

"In what its members see as the best opportunity to hold Mr. Trump and his team accountable, the committee — which has no authority to pursue criminal charges — is using what powers it has in expansive ways in hopes of pressuring Attorney General Merrick B. Garland to use the Justice Department to investigate and prosecute them," the report states. "The panel’s investigation is being run by a former U.S. attorney, and the top investigator brought in to focus on Mr. Trump’s inner circle is also a former U.S. attorney. The panel has hired more than a dozen other former federal prosecutors."

Having interviewed more than 475 witnesses and issued more than 100 subpoenas, the committee is now "armed with reams of telephone records and metadata."

"Faced with at least 16 Trump allies who have signaled they will not fully cooperate with the committee, investigators have taken a page out of organized crime prosecutions and quietly turned at least six lower-level Trump staff members into witnesses who have provided information about their bosses’ activities," the NYT reported, adding that the committee is also considering whether to grant immunity to key members of Trump's inner circle to get them to testify.

Stanley Brand, a Democrat and former top House lawyer who is now representing one of Trump's closest aides, Dan Scavino, called it the "mother of all investigations" and "a quantum leap for Congress." But he warned that Republicans will undoubtedly use similar tactics against Democrats if they regain control of the House.

"The committee’s aggressive approach carries with it another obvious risk: that it could fail to turn up compelling new information about Mr. Trump’s efforts to hold onto power after his defeat or to make a persuasive case for a Justice Department prosecution," the NYT reported.

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