Jan. 6 panel digs deeper into Trump cabinet probe, awaits Thomas

Washington – The House Jan. 6 committee said Sunday it would interview other former Cabinet secretaries and was prepared to subpoena conservative activist Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, who is married to the Supreme Court justice. Clarence Thomas, as part of his investigation into the Capitol riot and Donald Trump. role.

Lawmakers said they were deepening their investigation after a series of eight hearings in June and July culminating in a primetime session on Thursday, with plans to interview additional witnesses and meet again in September to resume the presentation. of their findings to the public.

“We plan to speak to other members of the president’s cabinet,” said Rep. Liz Cheney, vice chair of the committee. “We plan to speak to other members of his campaign. Admittedly, we are also very focused on the secret services.

Cheney, R-Wyo., did not identify which Trump administration officials may come forward, but the committee has already made clear its interest in speaking with those who may have considered invoking a constitutional process in the 25th Amendment. to remove Trump from office following the January 6, 2021 riot, when hundreds of Trump supporters violently stormed the Capitol and disrupted certification of Joe Biden’s election.

The committee released testimony from former Attorney General William Barr, who said he told Trump that the widespread voter fraud allegations were “bull——” and had “zero basis.” At last week’s hearing, the committee heard testimony from then-Labour Secretary Eugene Scalia, who said he urged Trump to call a Cabinet meeting to discuss an orderly transition. power.

Other cabinet members have indicated they may have important details to share.

Betsy DeVos, the then education secretary, previously told USA Today that she raised with Vice President Mike Pence whether the Cabinet should consider invoking the 25th Amendment, which would have forced the Vice President and the majority of the Cabinet to come to an agreement. that the president could no longer fulfill his functions.

DeVos, in his January 7, 2021 resignation letter, accused Trump of inciting the mob. “There is no doubting the impact of your rhetoric on the situation, and this is the inflection point for me,” she wrote.

On the same day, Elaine Chao left her position as transportation secretary. Chao, who is married to Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said the attack “deeply troubled me in ways that I just can’t put aside.”

Mike Pompeo, the then-Secretary of State who is considering a 2024 presidential race, and Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s Treasury Secretary, also reportedly discussed the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment, according to Jonathan Karl of ‘ABC News in its book. “Treason.”

“The floodgates have opened,” Rep. Elaine Luria, D-Va., said of the next phase of her investigation.

Committee members also hope to learn more about Ginni Thomas’ own efforts to keep Trump in power and potential conflicts of interest for Clarence Thomas following the Jan. 6 cases that went to the Supreme Court. The committee sent a letter to Ginni Thomas last month requesting an interview and hopes she will comply, Cheney said.

Virginia

Thomas communicated with people in Trump’s orbit before the 2021 attack and also on the day of the uprising.

“We certainly hope she will agree to come voluntarily,” Cheney said. “But the committee is fully prepared to consider a subpoena if she doesn’t.”

Cheney also said that while the committee hasn’t decided whether or not to refer a criminal referral regarding Trump to the Justice Department, “it’s absolutely something we’re looking at.”

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill. “I definitely think there’s evidence of crimes and I think that goes all the way to Donald Trump.”

While a possible prosecution of Trump falls under the Department of Justice, the committee has used its hearings to try to make the case for his political viability as he plans to run in 2024. Some of the most damning testimony released by the committee came from Trump. own Republican advisers, military leaders and confidants, who admitted to losing faith in his judgment and dedication to the rule of law in the days leading up to and following the January 6 attack.

The committee also wants to get to the bottom of missing Secret Service texts from January 5-6, 2021, which may have shed more light on Trump’s actions during the insurgency, particularly after earlier testimony about his confrontation with security while he was there. was trying to reach supporters at the Capitol.

Lawmakers also want to hear from Steve Bannon, a Trump ally who was found guilty last week of criminal contempt of Congress charges for refusing to comply with the House committee’s subpoena.

Cheney spoke on CNN’s “State of the Union” and “Fox News Sunday,” Kinzinger appeared on ABC’s “This Week” and Luria was on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

AP Congressional Correspondent Lisa Mascaro and Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report.

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