The House committee investigating the Capitol riot is making significant inroads through a particular plan of rhetorical attack: aides. Although prominent individuals who worked closely with Trump during his time as president have resisted testifying to the riot panel, aides for these individuals have provided substantial information.
Examples include Cassidy Hutchinson, who advised then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, and Ken Klukowski, who was an adviser to then-Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, a Trump ally who the then-president temporarily explored appointing as acting Attorney General. Revelations from Hutchinson were included in recent court filings from the committee amid a dispute with Meadows over investigators’ previous demands for documents and testimony. According to Hutchinson, “People had brought information forward to [Meadows] that had indicated that there could be violence on the 6th.” Investigators included that detail while trying to get a court to stop Meadows’s lawsuit to stop the committee’s subpoenas targeting him and his data. Klukowski, meanwhile, appeared alongside former officials including Jeffrey Rosen, who’d been acting Attorney General.
New: House Republican Any Biggs refuses to cooperate with Jan. 6 committee: “I will not be participating in the illegitimate and Democrat-sympathizing House Jan. 6 committee panel” — hours after Trump-appointed judge says panel is in fact legitimate.
— Hugo Lowell (@hugolowell) May 2, 2022
“We are definitely taking advantage of the fact that most senior-level people in Washington depend on a lot of young associates and subordinates to get anything done,” riot committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said. “A lot of these people still have their ethics intact and don’t want to squander the rest of their careers for other people’s mistakes and corruption… Washington is a place where decision-makers will make decisions but it takes a staff to execute and implement them… Those people are not bound by the kinds of compromising political allegiances that their bosses are.” Other panel members shared similar sentiments — chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said the committee has been largely focusing on individuals who aren’t “household” names but “had knowledge and information about what went on leading up to January 6. And we appreciate them for coming forward with it.”
New: House Republican Mo Brooks refuses Jan. 6 committee request for cooperation: “At one time I would have voluntarily testified before the Nancy Pelosi Witch Hunt Committee… But that time has long passed.”
— Hugo Lowell (@hugolowell) May 2, 2022
And Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), another committee member, observed: “The beauty of emails and meetings is that not many of them are principal to principal. Many of them include staff.” POLITICO notes cooperating former White House staffers have also been able to share observations about occurrences inside Trump’s administration that weren’t necessarily immediately related to their own work. Oval Office visitors have been among the topics under discussion along these lines in interviews conducted by investigators. Other specifics include the identities of Republican members of Congress who were parts of meetings dealing with believed possibilities for stopping the legally required transfer of presidential power to Joe Biden. Other former White House aides and people in the former president’s circles who’ve cooperated with the riot committee include Meadows aide Ben Williamson and Alexandra Preate, a press assistant for Steve Bannon, the longtime Trump ally who refused to cooperate and faces a trial on contempt of Congress charges in July.
JUST IN: Oath Keeper William Wilson — charged with seditious conspiracy over Jan. 6 — will cooperate with DOJ investigation, and was in a suite when Oath Keepers leader Rhodes tried to get someone to get Trump to allow them to stop the transfer of power. https://t.co/opsaa6OBEo
— Hugo Lowell (@hugolowell) May 4, 2022
Going forward, the committee is planning to hold additional public hearings beginning in early June, although witness lists for the planned hearings don’t appear to be available. And Justice Department investigators are continuing their own efforts targeting those involved in the violence around the Capitol — three Oath Keepers have now pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy.
New: Trump responds to CBS News 60 Minutes about claims that he suggested to former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper that they should attack the drug cartels with missiles: “No comment.”
— Hugo Lowell (@hugolowell) May 9, 2022