WASHINGTON — (TNS) The House panel investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol is demanding a sweeping list of records and other information from eight executive branch agencies, including communications involving the White House and associates of former President Donald Trump.
The select committee is seeking information to fill out details about the insurrections and the days leading up to the violence, which disrupted a joint session of Congress called to certify the electoral votes from the 2020 presidential election.
“Our Constitution provides for a peaceful transfer of power, and this investigation seeks to evaluate threats to that process, identify lessons learned and recommend laws, policies, procedures, rules, or regulations necessary to protect our republic in the future,” the committee’s chairman, Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, wrote in letters to the agencies.
The letters from the committee were sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the departments of Justice, Defense, Homeland Security and Interior, as well as the National Archives and Records Administration and intelligence agencies.
The committee of seven Democrats and two Republicans is seeking, among other things, communications within the White House and among executive branch agencies during the lead-up to the Jan. 6 insurrection. It also is requesting records to determine whether there was any executive branch involvement in the planning, organization or funding of rallies for Trump supporters in Washington on Jan. 5 and 6, including one where Trump addressed the crowd before the mob stormed the Capitol.
House Democrats impeached Trump on charges of inciting the mob with false claims of election fraud. He was acquitted by the Senate after leaving office.
The National Archives, which is the repository for presidential records, is being asked to provide documents and communications within the Trump White House that are related to the rallies or “any aspect” of the session of Congress where lawmakers were certifying President Joe Biden’s victory in the election.
The committee is seeking material involving a long list of those linked to Trump’s White House or him, including adviser Hope Hicks, Ivanka Trump, the former president’s daughter, and her husband Jared Kushner, as well at Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and associate Roger Stone.
The panel also is trying to determine if agencies like the FBI, Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Counterterrorism Center failed to adequately act on the information they had about possible threats from pro-Trump groups seeking to overturn the election results. That includes any information circulated about the Secret Service protection of former Vice President Mike Pence and his family on Jan. 6th.
Pence was presiding over the electoral vote count, and as the mob surged to the Capitol, shouts of “Traitor Pence,” and “No Trump, no peace,” could be heard.
From the Defense Department, the committee is seeking records of any discussions pertaining to the Insurrection Act, invoking martial law or “potential use of the military to impede or ensure the peaceful transfer of power,” according to a release.
The letters to the agencies instruct that this information should be provided no later than Sept. 9. They also request that agency officials meet with the committee staff on topics that warrant “document production priorities.”
Thompson said earlier this week that the committee would be asking telecommunications companies and social media platforms for phone, text and other communications records of hundreds of people, including members of Congress.
Republicans have denounced the committee’s work as politically motivated, aimed at damaging the GOP before the 2022 midterm elections that will decide control of Congress. House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy refused to participate in the committee after Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected two of his choices for the panel. Pelosi then picked two Republicans, Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who voted to impeach Trump and have been critical of his role in the insurrection, for the panel.
(Billy House, Bloomberg News via Tribune News Service)