WASHINGTON – That House Committee of January 6th has interviewed more than 1,000 people directly or indirectly involved in the U.S. Capitol riot as it investigates the violent attack and former President Donald Trump’s unprecedented effort to reverse his election defeat.
Several will return for a series of public hearings beginning Thursday, when the committee begins presenting its findings to the public. The panel is expected to bring in some of its most informative and insightful witnesses as it reports on Trump’s efforts to pressure state officials, congressmen and his own vice president to reject President Joe Biden’s victory.
On Thursday evening they will interview the British filmmaker Nick askedwhich recorded members of the far-right Proud Boys storming the building, and Caroline Edwards, a US Capitol Police officer who was seriously injured in last year’s attack.
Some of the panel’s interviews were with well-known figures, including members of Trump’s family and senior White House officials. Others were with junior staff or government officials who attended important meetings or were aware of specific developments. The committee spoke to police officers, campaign workers and some of the rioters themselves.
Most witnesses participated in voluntary interviews, but the panel issued more than 100 subpoenas. The House of Representatives voted to quash four people who refused to face contempt charges, and the Justice Department is prosecuting two of them – former Trump aides Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro. The Department declined prosecution former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Trump aide Dan Scavino.
A look at some of the panel’s witnesses — and some who refused to cooperate — as the panel holds hearings this month:
TRUMP’S INNER CIRCLE
The committee met with several key members of Trump’s family, including children Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr., and Ivanka’s husband, Jared Kushner. Former White House press secretaries Kayleigh McEnany and Stephanie Grisham have also appeared, as has the former senior policy adviser Stefan Mueller.
The panel also interviewed Kashyap Patel, a White House national security adviser who had moved to the Pentagon in the weeks after Trump’s election loss and was in touch with the White House when Trump’s supporters invaded the Capitol. The panel’s investigation has attempted to analyze what Trump was doing as the rioters rushed in.
And while Meadows eventually declined to sit for an interview, he made thousands of his available to the panel text messages in the context of negotiations on his testimony. These text messages show the chaos at the White House that day, as aides and allies urged Trump to intervene and stop the violence.
One of Meadows’ former assistants, Cassidy Hutchinson, told the committee that Meadows did so receive potential warnings of violence on January 6th. She also described how the Office of the White House Counsel warned of Trump’s plans to recruit fake voters in swing states, including at meetings attended by Meadows and Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani.
The committee has also delved deeply into Trump’s pressure on Vice President Mike Pence, who led election certification in Congress. The panel did not call Pence publicly to testify, but lawmakers spoke to several of Pence’s aides, many of whom expressed frustration at how the vice president was treated when Trump publicly urged him to try to uncount the election — a power which he did not legally have. Some of the rioters chanted Pence’s name as they broke into the Capitol and demanded his execution.
Among the aides who testified were Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, his national security adviser, Keith Kellogg, and former communications adviser, Alyssa Farah.
Greg Jacob, who served as Pence’s chief counsel in the vice president’s office, also spoke to the panel. As part of a court record The committee released emails between Jacob and attorney John Eastman, who worked with Trump, in which Jacob said that Pence could not intervene in his ceremonial role and stop electoral vote certification. Jacob told Eastman the legal framework he proposed for doing just that was “essentially entirely made up.”
Eastman has fought the committee’s claims, according to his records, but a court has ordered him to release some of them to the panel.
MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
The panel last month five Republican lawmakers subpoenaedincluding House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, but none have complied so far.
McCarthy has admitted he was speaking to Trump on Jan. 6 when Trump supporters beat police outside the Capitol and forced their way inside. But he didn’t reveal many details. The committee asked for information about his conversations with Trump “before, during and after” the riots.
subpoenas were also issued to Representatives Jim Jordan of Ohio, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Andy Biggs of Arizona and Mo Brooks of Alabama. All four met with Trump and White House officials as the former president focused on counting the Jan. 6 congressional election as his final opportunity to reverse his defeat.
in one letter on the blackboardan attorney for McCarthy, argued that the select committee did not have the authority to issue subpoenas to the legislature under House Rules and requested answers to a number of questions and documents if his client complied.
The panel has also spoken with Justice Department officials, including former Attorney General Bill Barr, former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and his deputy Richard Donoghue.
Barr resigned from his position in December 2020 to announce that the department had found no widespread fraud in the election. After he left, Rosen and Donoghue defended the department against intense pressure from Trump and his allies, who she wanted to explain that there had been fraud and prosecution of states that had confirmed Biden’s victory.
The committee also interviewed Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official who sympathized with Trump when he tried to overturn the vote. Clark had drafted a letter for key swing states—never sent—falsely claiming the department had discovered disturbing election irregularities. A White House attorney at the time, Pat Cipollone, told Trump the letter was a “murder-suicide pact.”
Still, Trump came close to installing Clark as attorney general, only to back down when confronted with the likelihood of mass firings at the Justice Department.
The panel has reached out to Rosen to testify at one of the hearings in June, according to a person familiar with the matter, who insisted on anonymity for private conversations.
RIOTERS AND THOSE WHO ATTACKED THEM
The panel spoke to some of the rioters who were charged after the riot.
Stewart Rhodes, the founder and leader of the far-right Oath Keepers militia group, appeared from afar before the panel in February from a federal prison, where he is awaiting trial on sedition charges. Rhodes and 10 others were first calculated with seditious conspiracy for her role in the violent insurgency.
Lawmakers also questioned some of the assaulted law enforcement officers and security guards overseeing them. Four police officers testified at the panel’s first hearing last July and reported sustained mental and physical injuries they suffered when they were overpowered and brutally beaten by the mob.
ORGANIZERS OF THE RALLY
Another focus of the panel was the massif Trump rally on the National Mall, which took place that morning and continued even after the Capitol break-in began.
A list of 11 subpoenas in September included Amy and Kylie Kremer, founders of Women for America First, a group that helped organize the rally; Cynthia Chafian, an organizer who submitted the initial permit for the rally; Caroline Wren, who the committee says was listed as a “VIP advisor” in the permitting papers for the January 6 rally; and Maggie Mulvaney, who the panel says was listed as a “VIP lead” on the permit.
Most of those summoned cooperated.
Associated Press contributors Eric Tucker, Michael Balsamo, and Jill Colvin contributed to this report.
For more coverage of the Jan. 6 riot hearings, see https://apnews.com/hub/capitol-siege
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https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/06/09/jan-6-panels-1000-witnesses-from-trump-aides-to-rioters/ From Trump supporters to rioters