Did the corrupt J6 committee destroy evidence of its own proceedings?
The corrupt January 6 Committee, which culminated in a show hearing that would have made Stalin proud, conducted multiple witness interviews in the lead-up to the televised hearing. However, it refused to release any information about those interviews, except for anti-Trump, anti-MAGA leaks to the media. In theory, now that there’s a new Speaker in the House who is steadily releasing 41,000 hours of Capitol footage about events on January 6, we should also be seeing what the J6 Committee hid behind closed doors. However, that may not be possible. Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), who chairs the House Administration Oversight Subcommittee, explains that the interview videotapes have vanished:
Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), who chairs the House Administration Oversight Subcommittee that is currently investigating security lapses connected to the Capitol riot and potential ramifications for upcoming criminal trials, is questioning the disappearance of the video evidence.
“All of the videotapes of all depositions are gone,” Mr. Loudermilk told the “Just the News, No Noise” television show Thursday night.
“We found out about this early in the investigation when I received a call from someone who was looking for some information off one of the videotapes, and we started searching, and we had none,” Mr. Loudermilk explained. “I wrote a letter to Bennie Thompson asking for them. And he confirmed that they did not preserve those types. He didn’t feel that they had to.”
According to Mr. Loudermilk, the videotapes met the requirements for congressional evidence under House rules because some of the segments were shown at hearings, and the now-defunct J6 committee, led by Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss), ought to have kept all of the recordings.
“According to House rules, you have to preserve any data and information and documents that are used in an official proceeding, which they did. They (J6 Democrats) actually aired portions of these tapes on their televised hearings, which means they had to keep those,” Mr. Loudermilk said. “Yet he chose not to.”
In civil litigation, the moment a lawsuit is filed, the defendant must preserve any documents that could reasonably relate to the subjects at issue in the litigation. If, instead, he destroys those documents, he is guilty of spoliation, and spoliation is a big deal. It’s the kind of thing that can see an automatic judgment taken against the defendant because the court will assume that the documents, if they’d been admitted into evidence, would have proven the defendant’s guilt.
There’s an additional kicker in the federal system when federal proceedings are involved.
Under 18 USC 1505, obstructing a congressional proceeding is a felony that can earn you up to five years in prison. That law, however, does not seem to have been applied to partisan politicians conducting the proceeding. For that reason, it seems to me that 18 USC 1519 is more applicable when we’re talking about spoliation of evidence under the control of someone who is essentially acting as a lawyer in the case. Under that law, destroying documents in federal investigation is a criminal offense:
Whoever knowingly alters, destroys, mutilates, conceals, covers up, falsifies, or makes a false entry in any record, document, or tangible object with the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence the investigation or proper administration of any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States or any case filed under title 11, or in relation to or contemplation of any such matter or case, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.
The same reasoning should apply here. House rules required the J6 Committee to keep the videotapes of those secret interviews. If those videotapes are not found soon and if there’s good reason to believe that the J6 Committee deliberately destroyed them, the presumption should be that the J6 Committee engaged in a fraud against the American people when putting forward its one-sided “evidence” of wrongdoing by Trump and his supporters on January 6.
Image: The January 6 committee hearing (edited). YouTube screen grab.