Police fire tear gas at a crowd of pro-Trump protesters during clashes at a rally to challenge the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington , January 6, 2021.
Shannon Stapleton | Reuters
WASHINGTON – The House committee investigating the Jan.6 assault on the Capitol on Wednesday demanded documents relating to at least 30 members of former President Donald Trump’s inner circle.
The request is part of a larger request for official documents that encompasses archived communications from the Trump White House as well as seven other executive agencies.
In a statement accompanying the letters on Wednesday, the select committee said it wanted information relating to:
- intelligence gathering and dissemination before the attack
- security preparations around the Capitol
- the role played by the agencies in the defense of the Capitol
- planning and organizing events in Washington on January 5 and 6
- how the events of January 6 “fit into the continuity of efforts to overthrow the rule of law, overturn the results of the November 3, 2020 elections or otherwise hinder the peaceful transfer of power”
The letters, signed by the select committee chair, representative Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., Gave recipients until September 9 to respond to committee requests. The committee has been given subpoena powers, so agencies that miss the deadline will likely receive subpoenas for information.
The longest of the eight letters is addressed to the National Archives and Records Administration, the agency that keeps White House communications records.
Four of the letters are addressed to leaders of the Ministries of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice and the Interior. Three letters are addressed to the directors of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Counterterrorism Center and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
The records sought by Thompson’s bipartisan committee cover the weeks leading up to the deadly assault as well as what happened that day when thousands of violent Trump supporters stormed Capitol Police in an attempt unsuccessful to prevent the Senate from certifying the victory of President Joe Biden. in the 2020 presidential election.
Together, they represent a new phase in the committee’s investigation, which could uncover information the former president would prefer to keep secret.
From the start, Trump has hesitated in his approach to the attack. Under pressure from his collaborators, he publicly distanced himself from the riot, which left 5 dead and stunned millions of Americans.
But privately, Trump backed the rioters, first by refusing to call them back for hours during the attack itself, and since then giving them thinly veiled praise. In one case, Trump painted rioter Ashli Babbitt, who was killed by a Capitol Hill police officer as she tried to enter the President’s lobby through a broken window, like a heroine.
Capitol Police investigated the shooting and determined it was a justifiable use of force in the line of duty. The officer, who has not been publicly identified, will sit down Wednesday night for an exclusive interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt.