Ex-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who served in that position in the Trump administration at the time of the Capitol riot, was slated to testify (virtually) to the House committee investigating January 6 on Tuesday, according to reporting from multiple outlets.
Prior negotiations over the prospect of Pompeo sitting for questioning by the panel were previously reported. The committee already heard from several officials who were in Trump’s Cabinet at the time of the riot at the Capitol, including Christopher Miller, Eugene Scalia, and Steven Mnuchin, who led the Defense, Labor, and Treasury Departments, respectively. One of the areas the committee is interested in exploring with individuals who were in Trump’s Cabinet is deliberations over potentially using the 25th Amendment after the riot to remove Trump from power. Mnuchin and Pompeo reportedly discussed that possibility in the time period after the Trump-incited mob temporarily paralyzed Congressional proceedings at the Capitol, and the committee was reportedly slated to focus on discussions of the amendment when questioning Pompeo.
Using the 25th Amendment against Trump would’ve required agreement among a majority of the presidential Cabinet members and the vice president that what amounts to Trump’s conduct and overall mental state warranted removal from power. Meanwhile, the House committee investigating the riot was also slated to question Doug Mastriano on Tuesday. Mastriano, a current Pennsylvania state Senator, is the Trump-backed GOP nominee for Pennsylvania governor, and he was involved in facilitating the spread of lies about the integrity of the 2020 election through means including an unofficial hearing held in Gettysburg after the election where Trump allies Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis — along with Trump himself, via speakerphone — pushed notions of election fraud that featured simply no basis in the real world. Mastriano also helped set up transportation for Trump supporters who went to Washington, D.C., on January 6.
Before the sit-down, Mastriano’s attorney indicated demands including the opportunity to videotape the Trump ally’s questioning and the reserved right to release clips from the footage later, should some belief on Mastriano’s side emerge that portions of the footage potentially released by the panel warrant additional context. Throughout its public hearings (and, at select moments, outside those proceedings), the committee has opted to release video and audio from previous, closed-door depositions of key figures from Trump’s circles. Individuals spotlighted by the clips include Bill Barr, who was Attorney General in the Trump administration after the election but left before the riot, alongside Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, who are the former president’s daughter and son-in-law and both worked on the Trump political operation. The committee also quickly began releasing footage from a deposition of Pat Cipollone, who was White House counsel when the riot took place.
Relatedly, the committee also recently obtained a trove of texts from a personal cellphone of the far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, whose legal team mistakenly sent the phone’s contents to the legal team for the opposing side in a Texas court case. The case dealt with the imposition of financial damages on Jones for lies he told about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, which he characterized as staged. (He’s now acknowledged it was real.) Before a key, early time period expired, Jones’s legal team took no legal action to shield contents of the conspiracy theorist’s device from further scrutiny, and afterwards, the judge dealing with the proceedings declined to issue an all-encompassing block stopping further scrutiny of the phone’s contents. (UPDATE: Mastriano ultimately refused to testify.)