September 18, 2021

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Jan. 6 committee demands a huge trove of Trump White House records – CNBC

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Police release tear gas into a crowd of pro-Trump protesters during clashes at a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, January 6, 2021.

Shannon Stapleton | Reuters

WASHINGTON — The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol demanded records on Wednesday related to at least 30 members of former President Donald Trump’s inner circle.

The demand is part of a sweeping formal records request that encompasses archived communications from the Trump White House as well as seven other Executive Branch agencies.

In a statement accompanying the letters Wednesday, the Select Committee said it wanted information related to:

  • the gathering and dissemination of intelligence before the attack
  • security preparations around the Capitol
  • the role agencies played in defense of the Capitol
  • planning and organization of events in Washington on Jan. 5 and 6
  • how the events of Jan. 6 “fit in the continuum of efforts to subvert the rule of law, overturn the results of the November 3, 2020 election, or otherwise impede the peaceful transfer of power”

The letters, signed by Select Committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., gave recipients until Sept. 9 to fulfill the committee’s demands. The committee has been granted subpoena powers, so agencies that fail to meet the deadline would likely receive subpoenas for the information.

The longest of the eight letters is addressed to the National Archives and Records Administration, the agency that maintains White House communication records.

Four of the letters are addressed to leaders of the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice and the Interior. Three letters are to the directors of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Counterterrorism Center and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

The records being sought by Thompson’s bipartisan committee deal with the weeks leading up to the deadly assault as well as what happened on that day, when thousands of violent Trump supporters overran Capitol police in a failed attempt to stop the Senate from certifying President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election.

Police release tear gas into a crowd of pro-Trump protesters during clashes at a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, January 6, 2021.

Jan. 6 committee demands a huge trove of Trump White House records

Together they represent a new phase in the committee’s probe, one that could bring to light information that the former president would prefer to keep secret.

From the beginning, Trump has wavered in his approach to the attack. Under pressure from his aides, he publicly distanced himself from the riot, which left 5 people dead and stunned millions of Americans.

But privately, Trump supported the rioters, first by refusing to call them off for hours during the attack itself, and since then, by offering thinly veiled praise for them. In one case, Trump has painted rioter Ashli Babbitt, who was killed by a Capitol Police officer as she tried to enter the Speaker’s Lobby through a broken window, as a heroine.

Capitol Police investigated the shooting and determined that it was a justifiable use of force in the line of duty. The officer, who has not been publicly identified, will sit down for an exclusive interview Wednesday evening with NBC News’ Lester Holt.  

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