National Security

Jan. 6 committee taps former Bush administration official as top lawyer

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol has hired a former Bush administration official to serve as one of its top legal advisers.

The panel tapped John F. Wood, a former U.S. attorney and adviser to former Attorney General John Ashcroft, to work as its senior investigative counsel.

"Mr. Wood has an impressive track record working inside and outside of government, and his expertise will enhance our efforts to investigate the events surrounding January 6th and understand what led to the attack against the U.S. Capitol that day. Furthermore, his addition to the Committee staff underscores the nonpartisan nature of our work," Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Vice Chairwoman Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said in a joint statement.

"The committee will continue to put politics aside to get answers the American people deserve about what happened and how to ensure it never happens again," they said.

Wood joins the committee after a stint working as the chief legal officer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

He held a number of high ranking positions under the George W. Bush administration, moving from serving as a deputy associate attorney general at the Department of Justice to top legal roles at the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Homeland Security before being appointed to be a U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri.

Wood's appointment follows other recent moves by the committee to strike a more bipartisan tone after Republicans largely refused to serve on the committee after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) rejected two of the party's slated picks for being too closely aligned with former President Trump and his false claims of election fraud.

The committee earlier this month elevated Cheney to serve as its co-chair.

Cheney remains one of just two Republicans to serve on the committee, along with Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.). They are two of the 10 GOP House members who to impeach Trump over his role in inciting the Capitol attack.

This story was updated on Sept. 20 to reflect that Wood will be one of the top legal advisers to the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 attack.