House panel probing Jan. 6 attack seeks Trump records

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol is seeking a trove of documents and communications from the Trump administration, giving the White House record keepers and other agencies two weeks to turn over information on a lengthy list of prominent people in the former president’s orbit.

The first wave of document requests were delivered to the National Archives — where White House records are retained — as well as the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and others.

The letter asks for documents and communications from within the White House “relating in any way” to former first lady Melania Trump; three of the former president’s children, Ivanka, Eric and Donald Trump Jr.; son-in-law Jared Kushner; as well as any member of Congress or Hill staffers.

The letter also asks for the National Archives to turn over communications with all of Trump’s top aides, including former chief of staff Mark Meadows, White House counsel Pat Cipollone, national security adviser Robert O’Brien, Hope Hicks, Stephen Miller and Kayleigh McEnany.

The Jan. 6 panel is also seeking White House communications with other key names in Trump’s orbit, including Roger Stone, Steve Bannon, Michael Flynn, Trump’s onetime attorney Rudy Giuliani and My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell.

The sweeping requests show the committee is focused not just on the events of the day but placing the riot in the broader context of Trump’s months-long effort to contest the election.

“The Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol is examining the facts, circumstances, and causes of the January 6th attack. 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 chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), wrote in the letter sent to the agencies. 

It also asks for the White House visitor records for Jan. 6. along with “all documents and communications related to efforts, plans, or proposals to contest the 2020 Presidential election results.”

That includes communications with former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, who told lawmakers Trump was persistent in pressuring him to discredit the 2020 election, and Jeffrey Clark, another Department of Justice official who reportedly pushed the department to cast doubt on the results. 

The request also includes any communications from the White House referencing extremist groups like the Proud Boys and Three Percenters.

The letter also asks for “all video communications recorded of the President speaking on January 6, 2021” a request that would include his dispatch to supporters when he told them to “go home” and said, “We love you. You’re very special.” 

“I think it could be valuable. I don’t want to overstate its significance, but it’s contemporaneous documentation that may provide a strong indication of what his mindset was at the time,” Ryan Goodman, co-director of the Reiss Center on Law and Security at New York University School of Law, previously told The Hill. 

“It sounds as though it’s his political aides who tried to rein in what he said in the other two takes.”

The request also inquires as to whether others in the White House were concerned about Trump’s mental health, asking for any communications related to the 25th Amendment, which allows the vice president and a majority of cabinet members to remove the president if they believe he is unfit for office, as well as “all documents and communications related to the mental stability of Donald Trump or his fitness for office.”

Some of the requests do seem to drill more specifically into the security and intelligence failures leading up to and during the attack.

The Department of Homeland Security has been asked to turn over a wide array of their own intelligence and planning, while requests to the Department of Defense ask about delays in sending in the National Guard.

The requests were sent just two days after Thompson told reporters his committee was ramping up the next phase of the investigation and would ask communications companies to hand over records for hundreds of people, including some of his own colleagues in the Congress.

“We have quite an exhaustive list of people. I won’t tell you who they are, but it’s several hundred people that make up the list of people we are planning to contact,” Thompson said Monday.

Though expansive, Wednesday’s letters fall short of the committee’s suggestion it may move straight to subpoenas in order to gain access to records. But Democrats, who control the Jan. 6 panel, may believe their less-formal request could speed things along given that a friendly Biden administration is now in charge of the White House and federal agencies.  

“We have already had discussions about the need to subpoena documents and the sense of urgency we have. Normally we would request voluntary compliance. We may move quickly to subpoenas when it comes to documents so that we ensure that they’re preserved and that there’s no delay,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told reporters in late July.

Updated at 1:50 p.m.

Tags Adam Schiff Bennie Thompson Capitol breach Donald Trump Hope Hicks Jan. 6 capitol riot Jared Kushner Jen Psaki Mark Meadows Melania Trump Roger Stone Rudy Giuliani Stephen Miller Steve Bannon

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