The House committee investigating the Capitol riot is continuing its underlying probe as it also works through a series of public hearings.
Patrick Byrne, a private sector business figure who participated in a high-profile meeting at the Trump White House on December 18, 2020, was recently questioned by the panel, and committee investigators will soon speak with a then-aide in the Trump administration who let Byrne and others into the White House that day. The tense, hours-long meeting involved — among other things — a push from a selection of then-President Trump’s most reality-disconnected advisers for a federal seizure of machines used in the last presidential election. There was neither any legal foundation nor any legitimate, real-world evidence in support of such a move, which figures including then-White House counsel Pat Cipollone strongly opposed. Separately, Cipollone also recently spoke to the riot investigation committee.
“Jan. 6 committee continues to investigate the 18 December 2020 meeting — committee counsel interviewed participant Patrick Byrne on Friday and is expected to interview the former Trump aide Garrett Ziegler who let Flynn-Powell-Byrne into the White House on Tuesday,” journalist Hugo Lowell reported this week.
The panel also has a public hearing planned for Thursday. That hearing, which will focus in apparent large part on actions Trump took and didn’t take on January 6, is scheduled for primetime and will be led in part by Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.). Beyond that hearing, the panel is leaving the metaphorical door open for additional proceedings, and it’s seemingly at least mostly planning on holding at least one more public hearing whenever it releases its final report. The panel is also apparently on track to eventually release all its numerous interview transcripts. Doing so at this stage, while the probe is ongoing, could potentially jeopardize future lines of inquiry by alerting possible targets and opening up witnesses whose participation isn’t yet publicly known to attempts at intimidation.
New: Jan. 6 committee continues to investigate the 18 December 2020 meeting — committee counsel interviewed participant Patrick Byrne on Friday and is expected to interview the former Trump aide Garrett Ziegler who let Flynn-Powell-Byrne into the White House on Tuesday
— Hugo Lowell (@hugolowell) July 18, 2022
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a member of the riot investigation committee in the House, recently expressed concerns that the panel seems further ahead in certain areas than the Justice Department. “‘I’ve been a part of many Congressional investigations that have been contemporaneous with Justice Department investigations,” Schiff recently said on MSNBC. “But it is unprecedented for Congress to be so far out ahead of the Justice Department in a complex investigation… They’ve got potent tools to get information. They can enforce their own subpoenas in a way we can’t. We have to go hat-in-hand to them to enforce our subpoenas or to enforce a criminal contempt. And the idea that a year and a half after these events, they would not have talked to these witnesses — that even the Fulton County District Attorney is way ahead of them is, I think, cause for great concern.”