The House committee investigating the attack on the Capitol on January 6 has sent out its first request for documents and communications related to the attack, seeking information on correspondence from the White House under Donald Trump and that of many of his associates.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi), who chairs the committee, announced Wednesday that they are reaching out to several agencies seeking information that might lend answers to the committee’s mission to understand the extent of Trump and Republicans’ involvement in the attack and attempt to overturn the election.
“Our Constitution provides for a peaceful transfer of power, and this investigation seeks to evaluate threats to that process, identify lessons learned and recommend laws, policies, procedures, rules, or regulations necessary to protect our republic in the future,” Thompson wrote in the requests.
The committee has sent letters to the National Archives, Department of Justice, Pentagon, Department of Homeland Security, and four other departments. Committee members are seeking information on the schedule, activities and whereabouts of Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on January 6, as well as video and recordings of Trump recorded in public and within the White House that day.
They have asked the National Archives to turn over “All documents and communications within the White House on January 6, 2021, relating in any way to” a long list of events and people within Trump’s orbit. On top of correspondence from Trump and Pence, the committee is seeking information from and related to figures like Hope Hicks, Kayleigh McEnany, all of Trump’s adult children other than Tiffany, Melania Trump, Steve Bannon, Rudy Giuliani, Roger Stone, and over a dozen others.
In the committee’s request to the Pentagon, members ask for “[a]ll documents and communications concerning possible attempts by President Donald Trump to remain in office after January 20, 2021.” They also ask for potential requests made by Trump and associates to the military to keep him in power and communications impeding the transition of power to President Joe Biden.
Agencies have two weeks to respond to the committee’s request, which may be challenging considering the scope and volume of the request.
The group is also asking the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense to provide information related to the government’s response to the attack.
The committee has requested that the Defense Department turn over documentation of requests made that day to send the National Guard to quell the protests. They also ask Homeland Security to send “All documents and communications internally expressing concerns regarding the Government’s ability to handle events that could or ultimately did transpire on January 6, 2021.”
The expansive request from the committee indicates the wide scope of information that the group is planning to seek and expose to the public. Though there is thousands of hours of video footage from the day and a huge amount of information has been uncovered about the attack on the Capitol up until now, there are still several glaring questions about the events of the day, especially as related to the extent of Trump and other elected officials’ involvement with the attack. Answers to questions such as what Trump was doing as the mob fueled by his conspiracy theories attacked the Capitol and why the police were so unprepared for the attack may come to light with this week’s inquiry.
The letters come just after Thompson announced this week that the committee is also planning to contact telecommunications companies for communications from members of Congress regarding the attack. Though the committee has not yet specified whose phone records they’re seeking, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) infamously had phone conversations with Trump that day, and could potentially be on the committee’s list.