House Select Committee Seeks Trump White House and Other Records Relating to Insurrection

Washington DC Capitol
House Select Committee seeks documentation and records related to January 6./ LAW WEEK FILE

The Congressional committee tasked with investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection moved Thursday to obtain White House communication records from the Trump administration. 

Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, chairman of the House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, said in a statement that eight agencies were sent demands.

The events in early January represented the first violent assault on the seat of American government since the War of 1812. Executed by a violent mob of former president Donald Trump’ supporters, apparently motivated by Trump’s repeated fabrications about the accuracy of the 2020 election results, the attack was timed to prevent Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s and Vice President Kamala Harris’ victory. 

Among the agencies that received requests for records were the National Archives and Records Administration, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of the Interior, Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Counterterrorism Center and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

NPR reported Thursday that in addition to communication records of former president Donald Trump, each entreaty seeks documentation relating to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, Trump’s ex-lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Ivanka Trump, the former president’s daughter. Communications from Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to the White House are also sought by the solicitation.

The panel’s requisition to NARA seeks White House “records pertaining to strategies and plans to derail the Electoral College vote count,” as well any indicating “planning for and coordination of the rallies leading up to Jan. 6th,” the designated individuals’ “knowledge of the election results and what he communicated to the American people about the election,” and those persons’ “potential plans to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power and challenge the validity of the 2020 election,” according to an information sheet provided by the committee. 

Notably, the NARA letter sought documents or other records indicating White House communications with any member of Congress or Congressional staff.

The Justice Department received a request similar to that sent to NARA.

Thompson’s letter to NARA asked Archivist of the United States David Ferreiro to use his regulatory authority to speed up a response. “Given the urgent nature of our request, we ask that you expedite your consultation and processing times pursuant to your authority under 36 C.F.R. § 1270.44(g),” the Magnolia State legislator wrote. “[W]e anticipate additional requests as our investigation continues.”

Committee members asked the Pentagon to produce documents and other records “pertaining to [Trump’s] potential invocation of the Insurrection Act, martial law or the 25th Amendment,” the “potential use of the military to impede or ensure the peaceful transfer of power,” the “deployment of law enforcement or military assets to the Capitol on January 6th” and “communications with other government entities during the attack on the Capitol,” according to the information sheet released Thursday.

From DHS, which oversees the Secret Service, the committee seeks records “pertaining to intelligence gathered prior to Jan. 6th on events that might occur on that day,” “the monitoring of social media platforms and communication with social media companies regarding dissemination of misinformation or indications of threats of violence in the months prior to Jan. 6th,” and “the Secret Service protection of former Vice President Mike Pence and his family on Jan. 6th,” according to the committee’s information sheet. The FBI, NCT and ONDI received similar calls.

Interior documents and records relating to requested permits for the demonstration on the ellipse that preceded the insurrection rounded out the Select Committee’s document dun.

Agencies have until Sept. 9 to produce the records.

Four other House committees asked in January for FBI, DoD, NCC and ODNI records similar to those sought by the Select Committee. 

The Select Committee held its first hearing shortly before the August Congressional recess. Earlier this month it hired as chief counsel a former U.S. attorney, Timothy Heaphy, and former Republican Rep. Denver Riggleman as a senior staffer. 

Thompson said last month that the panel would also ask telecommunications companies for the  phone records of a potentially large number of people. “We have quite an exhaustive list of people,” Thompson said, according to The Washington Post. “I won’t tell you who they are, but it’s several hundred people that make up the list of individuals we plan to contact.” 

Seven Democratic and two GOP legislators are members of the Select Committee. House Republicans have discouraged members of their caucus from participating in or cooperating with the panel following Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision on July 21 to bar two members – Indiana Rep. Jim Banks and Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan – from joining the panel.

 

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