Posts tagged with "House Select Committee"

On Thursday, January 6 Committee to focus on Donald Trump’s actions during Capitol attack

July 19, 2022

The House select committee investigating the events of January. 6, 2021, will present a minute-by-minute look this Thursday at then-President  Donald Trump’s activities as the Capitol was attacked, reports The Wall Street Journal.

“He was doing nothing to actually stop the riot,” Representative Elaine Luria (D- Virginia) said Sunday on CNN.

“The [former] president didn’t do very much but gleefully watch television,” Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois) said on CBS.

A spokesperson for Trump didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Trump has said he has done nothing wrong and has called the select committee a partisan effort.

Kinzinger on Sunday also expressed frustration at what he called “very conflicting statements” about the availability of evidence the committee has sought from the U.S. Secret Service, which includes text messages from January 6 and the preceding day.

Congressman Kinzinger said that the Inspector General—who acts as a watchdog over the Secret Service—reported that many texts from those two days were erased after he had requested them for his own investigation.

The Secret Service in a statement on Thursday, July 14, said data were lost from some phones during a technology change that had been previously planned, but that it didn’t lose any texts the inspector general had sought for his January review.

The House committee issued a subpoena to the agency on Friday, July 15—requesting information about the text messages by Tuesday. “They said we’ll meet this deadline, and we’ll see what we get here,” Kinzinger said.

“In the very least, it is quite crazy that the Secret Service would actually end up deleting anything related to one of the more infamous days in American history, particularly when it comes to the role of the Secret Service,” Kinzinger said.

The House select committee has been piecing together Trump’s actions back at the White House during the afternoon of January. 6—even as his supporters broke into the Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of the 2020 election.

The committee’s focus for the Thursday hearing will be on a 187-minute period that culminated in a 4:17 p.m. video by Trump in which he asked rioters, whom he called “very special,” to leave the Capitol.

Representative Luria on Sunday said the hearing will include witnesses whom the public hasn’t heard from yet, but she didn’t give details. A committee spokesperson declined to comment.

Thursday’s prime-time hearing is the eighth and final one in a series planned by the House select committee. However, committee members said the investigation would continue and that more hearings could follow.

“New witnesses are coming forward. Additional information is coming forward,” Reprentative  Zoe Lofgren (D-California), another committee member, said Sunday on ABC. “There are things that we are looking at still.”

Research contact: @WSJ

FBI seizes phone of John Eastman, key figure in effort to overturn 2020 election

June 29, 2022

Federal agents seized the cell phone of John Eastman—an attorney who advised former President Donald Trump how to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election—Eastman said in a court filing on Monday, June 27, reports The Huffington Post.

Eastman filed a lawsuit asking the Justice Department to return his property and destroy any records it had obtained after FBI agents in New Mexico stopped him as he was leaving a restaurant last week. The investigators had a warrant and seized his iPhone, the filing says, and agents were able to access his email accounts.

He said in the filing that the agents “forced” him to unlock the device.

“By its very breadth, the warrant intrudes on significant privacy interests, both of [Eastman] and of others whose communications with him are accessible on the seized cell phone,” his attorneys wrote in the filing, obtained by The Hill.

Eastman was a key figure in developing a plan that would have seen Vice President Mike Pence delay or block certification of the 2020 Electoral College results, and his work has become a central focus of the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Pence refused to go along with the scheme.

Eastman also spoke at the January 6 rally just before the Capitol attack, where Trump falsely claimed that widespread election fraud had cost him the White House. There is no evidence to support those allegations.

The seizure of Eastman’s phone came the same day federal authorities searched the home of Jeffery Clark, a former Justice Department official under Trump who encouraged the then-president’s efforts to remain in office, despite his Electoral College loss to Joe Biden.

Clark had served in the Trump administration as assistant attorney general of the environment and natural resources division—but became close to the White House after the 2020 election. At one point, Trump mulled putting Clark in charge of the Justice Department after William Barr resigned after refusing to go along with Trump’s false claims of widespread voter fraud.

The House select committee focused heavily on Eastman’s efforts to aid Trump during its third hearing this month. The body, citing an email he sent to Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, also noted that Eastman sought to be on the president’s “pardon list.”

Research contact: @HuffPost

Adam Schiff explains why Trump’s pardon promise is ‘very important evidence’

February 4, 2022

Representative Adam Schiff (D-California) says former President Donald Trump’s dangling of the prospect of pardons for the U.S. Capital rioters is “very important evidence as to his intent” for the violence unleashed by his supporters on January 6, 2021, reports HuffPost.

Schiff, a member of the House select committee investigating the insurrection, suggested on MSNBC on Wednesday, February 2, that Trump’s comments at a weekend rally were part of a broader pattern of using pardons to influence and intimidate witnesses.

“I think his recent statements, as well as the public reports of prior inquiries about pardoning people involved in attacking the Capitol police that day, they go to a couple of things,” Schiff told anchor Lawrence O’Donnell, referencing new reports Trump considered blanket pardons for the rioters before he left office.

“They go to his intent,” Schiff opined. “If this violence against the Capitol wasn’t part of the plan, or wasn’t something he condoned, then why would he consider pardoning them?”

“So, I think it’s very important evidence as to his intent. But it also is I think part of that broader pattern … to influence potentially what witnesses have to say, or whether they will say it,” he added.

Research contact: @HuffPost

January 6 panel zeroes in on Fox News’ Hannity; releases texts between host and White House

January 6, 2022

Fox News host Sean Hannity was concerned about former President Donald Trump‘s strategy and conduct before, during, and after the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, according to a letter sent to him on Tuesday, January 4, by the House select committee probing the insurrection, reports CNN.

The committee asked Hannity for his voluntary cooperation with its investigation  as a patriotic American—noting it had received “dozens” of his text messages sent to and from former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows that indicate that he had “advance knowledge regarding President Trump’s and his legal team’s planning for January 6th.”

In the letter, the panel said it wants to speak with Hannity specifically about his communications with Trump, White House staff, and his legal team between December 31, 2020, and January 20, 2021, when President Joe Biden was inaugurated.

Hannity’s attorney, Jay Sekulow, told CNN, “We are reviewing the committee’s letter and will respond as appropriate.”

The committee said it has text messages from Hannity pushing back on the plan to urge Congress to challenge the certification of the election on January 6—and urging Trump to prepare for his departure from office.

On January 5, Hannity wrote that he was “very worried about the next 48 hours.”

In its letter the committee asked Hannity, “With the counting of the electoral votes scheduled for January 6th at 1 p.m., why were you concerned about the next 48 hours?”

The committee also cited a separate December 31, 2020, exchange in which Hannity wrote to Meadows, “We can’t lose the entire WH counsel’s office. I do not see January 6 happening the way he is being told. After the 6th. [sic] He should announce will lead the nationwide effort to reform voting integrity. Go to Fl and watch Joe mess up daily. Stay engaged. When he speaks people will listen.”

The committee said it appeared that Hannity has “detailed knowledge regarding President Trump’s state of mind,” and engaged with the former President numerous times. The committee noted that Hannity spoke directly with Trump on January 5 about “his planning for January 6th” and on January 10, when Hannity “may have raised a number of specific concerns about his possible actions in the days before the January 20th inaugural.”

The committee referenced messages from January 10 that Hannity sent to Meadows and Ohio Republican Representative Jim Jordan: “Guys, we have a clear path to land the plane in 9 days. He can’t mention the election again. Ever. I did not have a good call with him today. And worse, I’m not sure what is left to do or say, and I don’t like not knowing if it’s truly understood. Ideas?”

Trump told CNN in a statement Tuesday evening, “I disagree with Sean on that statement and the facts are proving me right.”

In a text to Meadows on January 5, Hannity wrote that he was “very worried about the next 48 hours” and referred to then-Vice President Mike Pence, who oversaw the certification of the 2020 election, saying: “Pence Pressure. WH counsel will leave.”

And on January 6, Hannity urged Meadows to tell Trump he should “ask people to peacefully leave the [C]apit[o]l.”

Before sending its letter, the committee revealed it had text messages from Hannity to Meadows on the day of the attack, calling for Trump to take action. According to the previously released text, Hannity said to Meadows: “Can he make a statement? Ask people to leave the Capitol?”

In its letter, the panel also made clear that it wants to learn more about the communications Hannity had as the riot was underway. “We are aware of and interested in your communications to Mr. Meadows and others during the violent attack on January 6th, as the rioters were attempting to occupy the Capitol building,” the letter reads, specifically referencing a text message sent to Meadows about “a potential effort by members of President Trump’s cabinet to remove him from office under the 25th Amendment.”

The committee made clear that its questions for Hannity are narrowly focused on those topics and do not address his public broadcasts.

Research contact: @CNN

Mark Meadows knuckles under; agrees to cooperate with House January 6 Select Committee

December 1, 2021

Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has agreed to cooperate with the House Select Committee in charge of investigating the January 6 Capitol insurrection, the panel said on November 30, according to a report by Axios.

Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson confirmed the news with the following statement: “Mr. Meadows has been engaging with the Select Committee through his attorney. He has produced records to the committee and will soon appear for an initial deposition. The Select Committee expects all witnesses, including Mr. Meadows, to provide all information requested and that the Select Committee is lawfully entitled to receive. The committee will continue to assess his degree of compliance with our subpoena after the deposition.”

With the capitulation of Meadows, the committee has achieved a major win; and Meadows, himself, has possibly staved off prosecution. After rejecting a subpoena to appear for a deposition before the panel, it was believed that Meadows could face contempt charges.

Meadows, who failed to appear before the panel earlier this month, is believed to have insight into former President Donald Trump’s role in efforts to stop the certification of President Joe Biden’s election win.

According to Axios, Meadows became the second person to defy the committee’s subpoena, following former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, who was taken into custody on November 15 on charges of contempt of Congress.

Research contact: @axios

Steve Bannon surrenders to Feds after being indicted for contempt of Congress

November 16, 2021

Former Trump White House strategist Steve Bannon surrendered to the FBI on Monday, November 15, after being indicted on contempt of Congress due to his refusal to cooperate with the congressional committee investigating the Capitol riot, reports HuffPost.

A federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., indicted Bannon on Friday, November12, on two counts of contempt of Congress. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement that Bannon’s indictment reflected the Justice Department’s “steadfast commitment” to showing the American people “by word and deed that the department adheres to the rule of law, follows the facts and the law, and pursues equal justice under the law.”

Bannon is set to appear before a judge in Washington later Monday. Cameras caught Bannon arriving at the FBI’s Washington Field Office on Monday morning.

As alleged in the indictment, Bannon did not comply with subpoenas issued by the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack before the required deadlines last month. The committee was interested in Bannon because he was “present at the Willard Hotel on January 5, 2021, during an effort to persuade Members of Congress to block the certification of the election the next day” and proclaimed, the day before the attack, that “all hell is going to break loose.”

This is not Bannon’s first run-in with federal prosecutors, notes HuffPost. In 2019, Bannon testified during the trial of Roger Stone, saying that Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign saw Stone as an “access point” to WikiLeaks. And in August 2020, Bannon was indicted in connection with a scheme to fleece Trump supporters who wanted to build a border wall.

In his final hours in office in January, Trump pardoned Bannon, and had previously pardoned Stone in December 2020, just a few weeks before the Jan. 6 attack. Stone was staying at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel, where the “war room” of high-level Trump supporters was set up.

The FBI has made more than 650 arrests to date in connection with the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol, and hundreds more arrests are in the works. While the FBI investigations will answer a lot of questions about individual criminal culpability in the January 6 attacks, it will be up to the House select committee to answer some of the broader questions about what happened that day.

House Select Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Mississippi) and Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) said that Bannon’s indictment “should send a clear message to anyone who thinks they can ignore the Select Committee or try to stonewall our investigation: no one is above the law.” Thompson and Cheney said they would “not hesitate to use the tools at our disposal to get the information we need.”

Research contact: @HuffPost

Cheney drops bombshell—suggesting Trump ‘was personally involved in the planning of January 6th’

October 21, 2021

On Tuesday, October 19, Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) issued a blistering assessment of the decision by former President Donald Trump and ally Steve Bannon to stonewall the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th attacks on the U.S. Capitol, reports Raw Story.

After dismantling Bannon’s claims that he is protected by executive privilege from testifying before the committee, Cheney speculated that Trump and Bannon have very personal reasons for not wanting any testimony to go forward.

“Mr. Bannon’s and Mr. Trump’s privilege arguments do appear to reveal one thing, however: They suggest that President Trump was personally involved in the planning and execution of January 6th,” she said. “And we will get to the bottom of that.”

Cheney also cited Bannon’s statements on January 5th in which he seemed to anticipate that violent mayhem would break out the next day as Congress worked to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election.

“All hell is going to break loose tomorrow,” Bannon said.

Research contact: @RawStory

Why Jim Jordan can’t save himself—or Trump—from the Capitol riot committee

September 2, 2021

Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) has backed himself into a corner, according to former FBI official Frank Figliuzzi.

Speaking to MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace about the threats from pro-Donald Trump militias expected to riot again on September 18, a group of panelists agreed law enforcement is prepared this time. Representative. Madeleine Dean (D-Pennsylvania) explained that it is clear the January 6 attackers aren’t finished and that they fully intend to move forward with further attacks on the country.

According to a report by Raw Story, Wallace noted that the threats of mayhem are putting the Republican Party in a difficult position because they are in danger of becoming the party of violence and terrorism—and she specifically mentioned Reps. Madison Cawthorm (R-NC), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Jody Hice (R-GA), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and Scott Perry (R-PA) as those who had public contacts or associations with Capitol attackers.

Dean noted that Jordan was “glib” when discussing his contacts with President Donald Trump on January 6. He somehow couldn’t remember when he spoke to Trump, but noted that he talks to Trump all of the time.

“So, unlike [Mr.] Cawthorn and the others […whom]t you are talking about, they will get the records,” Dean promised. “They will see who was complicit in terms of whether it was supporting Donald Trump and his lies.”

But while things are moving forward with the investigation, September 18 is a new date that many to fear will spur further Republican violence.

“We have to be very mindful,” Dean said. Because “1/6 is not over. As [Cawthorn] said, it sounds like he might even be a part of some planning for further violence or Americans attacking Americans. It couldn’t be more serious than this.”

But it was ultimately Figliuzzi who explained that Jim Jordan is stuck in a corner with no good way to get out.

“I think we now know why Nancy Pelosi had to reject Jim Jordan,” he said. “He is a fact witness and he’s going to get a very complicated future ahead of him. Here is why: First, he claims that he can’t remember how many times on January 6th he called the president or what time of day, that’s easily remedied by simply checking your phone log and checking that date. If he can’t do it, the phone company will be more than happy to supply the select committee with that. That’s going to happen eventually.

Next, he’s in a trick bag because if he concedes, as has been reported, that he actually called the president and said, ‘stand this crowd down, they’re inside, it is getting violent, you’ve got to stop them,’ that implies, of course, that he believed Trump controlled the crowd and had the ability to stop or start the crowd.”

Figliuzzi explained that is a disaster for Trump, and Jordan will be forced to answer the question one way or another.

“It hurts him because if he thinks the people were violent he goes back home to Ohio and his voter base says,’Wait a minute, those were patriots; those weren’t violent people,’” Figliuzzi continued. “So, he can’t win there either. This gets extremely complicated.”

Research contact: @RawStory