January 6 Committee to Investigate Trump’s Calls to Allies Before Capitol Breach

The House committee investigating the assault on the Capitol last Jan. 6 will probe former President Donald Trump’s phone calls to allies stationed at the Willard HotelBennie Thompson (D-Miss.) was the chairman of the committee in Washington, hours before the attack. The Guardian.

Thompson informed the outlet that although the panel cannot request records from the National Archives regarding specific calls, it plans to review White House telephone records at the time the attack occurred in an effort to find out specific Trump calls. multiple allies seeking to block the certification of President Biden’s election victory.

“If we say we want all White House calls made on January 5 and 6, if he made it on a White House phone, then obviously we would look at it there,” Thompson said.

Trump has filed a lawsuit against the National Archives to prevent them from turning over the records, but has been dismissed rejected by every courtHe has been heard by that court, who rejected his argument that an ex-president can invoke executive privilege. The Supreme Court, however, is heavily conservative and he has appealed the decision.

“If we get the information that we requested, those calls potentially will be reflected to the Willard Hotel and whomever,” Thompson said.

The Guardian reported last month that in the late hours of Jan. 5 the then-president made several calls to a team led by Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman and Boris Ephsteyn, as well as former White House strategist Steve Bannon, to discuss ways to delay the certification of Biden’s win.

Trump complained that Vice President Mike Pence refused to use his ceremonial role in the joint session of Congress to certify electoral ballots to alter or delay final outcome. Trump also pressed allies on whether they could delay certification through a scheme in which Republican-led legislatures would send alternate slates of electors to Congress, with the aim of reversing Biden’s victories in key states, according to the report.

The committee has already served subpoenas on Eastman and Bannon, but both men refuse to comply with the investigation. Eastman has made a vow to invoke the Fifth Amendment, and sued the panel to stop the subpoena. The Justice Department has charged Bannon with two counts of contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with the panel’s requests. According to the report, the committee will soon issue a subpoena for Giuliani. Guardian.

Trump called the lawyers and non-lawyers on his team at the Willard separately because Giuliani “did not want to have non-lawyers participate on sensitive calls and jeopardize claims to attorney-client privilege,” according to the report.

It’s unclear whether Giuliani, who led Trump’s legal efforts, plans to invoke attorney-client privilege in the investigation. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a member on the committee, said to the Guardian that the privilege doesn’t grant Giuliani immunity.

“The attorney-client privilege does not operate to shield participants in a crime from an investigation into a crime,” he said. “If it did, then all you would have to do to rob a bank is bring a lawyer with you, and be asking for advice along the way.”

Trump and his allies sought to stall investigation, but some have cooperated. It’s not clear whether the committee is likely to glean useful information from phone records alone. Although Trump made multiple calls from the White House ahead of the Capitol riot, it’s unclear where he was when he called his allies at the Willard, or what phones he may have used. For instance, phone calls from the White House do not automatically get stored in records sent by the National Archives. GuardianNoted in the report. Even if records are obtained that show calls to the Willard occurred within this time frame, investigators still need testimony from people who know the calls to find out what was said.

Eastman had been gone for a day when the calls started to come in. held a meeting with Trump, Pence and Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short to detail his plan to have Pence delay the certification of the results. Pence pushed back on the plan, which made Trump “furious,” according to the report.

Pence earlier this month declined to commit to cooperating with the committee’s investigation, but Short is complying with a subpoena from the panel, according to CNN. A source with knowledge of the situation told the outlet that the committee is getting “significant cooperation from Team Pence.”