Jan. 6 committee member: Many of 200+ witnesses are ex-Trump admin staff who voluntarily came forward
A member of the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack told CNN Saturday many of the more than 200 witnesses they have interviewed are former officials from the Trump administration who came forward voluntarily.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat, said some others have also volunteered testimony, but needed a subpoena for “cover.” Lofgren remained relatively tight-lipped, however, and wouldn’t say whether they were members of the Trump White House, the Trump campaign, or former Vice President Mike Pence’s staff when pressed by CNN’s Jim Acosta.
“Let me not be that specific, but let me say certainly there have been people, part of the Trump administration, who have spoken to us and provided important insights that have led us to further questions,” she said when asked about whether they were White House staffers. She told CNN earlier this week in addition to the hundreds of witness interviews, the committee received nearly 25,000 documents and got more than 200 tips from its tip line.
Lofgren on Saturday dismissed former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows’ executive privilege claim. She reiterated the committee has questions for Meadows that do not concern his conversations with former President Donald Trump, including whether Meadows used a private cell phone to communicate on January 6 and where his text messages from that day are.
Meadows, one of dozens of people the committee has subpoenaed, including many with close ties to Trump, was a no-show for his deposition last week. It remains to be seen if the committee will also ask the Department of Justice to pursue criminal charges against him, like it did for former Trump adviser and podcast host Steve Bannon. Unlike Bannon, who is pleading not guilty to the charges against him, Meadows was an employee of the executive branch on January 6, making his claims around executive privilege potentially more substantial.
Asked whether the committee has concerns about Meadows destroying evidence, Lofgren would not comment on evidence the committee has, and said, “It would be unfair of me to say that. But let me just say we would like to know about his use of a private cell phone and what happened to that cell phone and whether those records have been captured by the National Archives as the law requires.”
Lofgren likewise would not comment on whether the committee has the text message evidence from a ProPublica report of Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, reportedly bragging about raising millions for the Stop the Steal rally on January 6, but stressed the committee is following the money.
“We have a whole team of investigators that is following the money trail and we believe we have a very high chance of actually determining who paid for what, and I think that’s an important thing for people to know,” she said.
It has been more than 10 months since rioters stormed the US Capitol on January 6 and the House panel investigating the attack continues to insist it is making progress. But much of the work has taken place behind closed doors and the panel has mostly offered vague reassurance that its aggressive pursuit of information from a host of witnesses, including close advisers to Trump, is producing results.
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