The House select committee tasked with investigating the 6 January attacks on the Capitol has issued its first round of sweeping demands for records from multiple US government agencies.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the committee revealed that it has sent its initial demands to various executive branch agencies including the National Archives and Records Administration, the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, the FBI, National Counterterrorism Center and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
The committee chairman, Bennie G Thompson, a congressman from Mississippi, gave the agencies a two-week deadline to produce materials. In a statement, Thompson wrote, “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.”
The letters sent to the agencies seek records dealing with a variety of matters related to the 6 January attacks, including intelligence gathering and dissemination before the attack, security preparations around the Capitol, the role agencies played in the Capitol’s defense, event planning and organization in Washington DC on 5 and 6 January, and how the attacks fit in the continuum of attempts to overturn the 2020 election results.
On Monday, Thompson told reporters that the committee plans to request records of several hundred people, including lawmakers, from telecommunication companies. The requests will include phone, email and text records.
“We have quite an exhaustive list of people. I won’t tell you who they are, but it’s several hundred people that make up the list of people we are planning to contact,” he said.
Wednesday’s announcement comes a month after law enforcement officers delivered harrowing testimonies of their experiences during the 6 January attacks.
In July, the Department of Justice declined to assert executive privilege over some of the testimonies, allowing former officials from the Trump administration to testify to Congress about Donald Trump’s role in the deadly attacks.
The DoJ’s decision marks a sharp departure from the Trump era, when the department frequently intervened on behalf of top White House officials to assert executive privilege and protect them from congressional investigations into the former president.
In an interview with the Guardian in July, Thompson said he was prepared to depose members of Congress and senior Trump administration officials who might have participated in the insurrection that left five dead and nearly 140 injured.
“Nothing is off limits,” Thompson said.