The US House of Representatives’ January 6 committee said Sunday it will interview more former Cabinet secretaries and prepare to subpoena conservative activist Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, who is married to Judge Supreme Court judge Clarence Thomas, as part of an investigation into US Congressional riots and Donald Trump’s role.
Lawmakers said they were conducting a deeper investigation after a series of eight hearings in June and July that culminated in a prime-hour session on Thursday, with plans to interview more witnesses and convened again in September to continue publishing their findings.
“We anticipate talking to additional members of the president’s Cabinet,” said Representative Liz Cheney, vice chair of the committee. “We anticipate talking to other members of his campaign. Sure, we’re also very focused on the Secret Service. “
Cheney, R-Wyo., did not identify Trump administration officials who might be moving forward, but the committee has previously made clear its interest in conferring with those who are believed to have considered the invocation. a 25th Amendment constitutional process to remove Trump from office after riots on January 6, 2021, when hundreds of Trump supporters violently stormed the Capitol and disrupted certification Joe Biden’s election.
The committee released testimony from former Attorney General William Barr, who said he told Trump that widespread voter fraud claims were “increased——” and “unfounded”. During last week’s hearing, the committee presented testimony from then-Labour Secretary Eugene Scalia, who said he had urged Trump to convene a Cabinet meeting to discuss a transition process. orderly force.
Other Cabinet members said they may have important details to share.
Betsy DeVos, secretary of education at the time, previously told USA Today that she raised with Vice President Mike Pence the question of whether the Cabinet should consider invoking the 25th Amendment, which would asked the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet to agree. that the president can no longer fulfill his duties.
DeVos, in his resignation letter on January 7, 2021, blamed Trump for inciting the crowd. “The impact of your rhetoric on the situation is unmistakable, and that was the inflection point for me,” she wrote.
On the same day, Elaine Chao quit her job as a transportation secretary. Chao, who is married to Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, said the attack had “deeply troubled me in a way that I simply couldn’t put aside”.
Mike Pompeo, secretary of state at the time considering running for president in 2024, and Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s treasury secretary, are also said to have discussed the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment, according to Jonathan Karl. of ABC News in his book. “Treachery.”
Representative Elaine Luria, D-Va., said: “The floodgates have opened.
Committee members also hope to learn more about Ginni Thomas’s own efforts to keep Trump in office and the potential conflicts of interest for Clarence Thomas as a result of the January 6 lawsuits before the Court. Supreme. The committee sent a letter to Ginni Thomas last month seeking an interview and hoping she would comply, Cheney said.
Thomas communicated with people in Trump’s orbit before the 2021 attack and also on the day of the uprising.
“We certainly hope that she will agree to voluntarily participate,” said Cheney. “But the committee is fully prepared to consider the subpoena if she doesn’t.”
Cheney also said that while the committee has yet to decide whether to refer Trump-related crimes to the Justice Department, “it’s absolutely something that we’re looking at.”
Representative Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill added: “I definitely think there is evidence of a crime and I think it involves Donald Trump.”
While prosecuting Trump may well be a Justice Department matter, the committee has used its hearings to try to make a case for his political viability as he contests. elected in 2024. Some of the most damning testimonies given by the committee come from Trump that includes top Republican advisers, military leaders and confidants who admit it. lost confidence in his judgment and dedication to the rule of law in the days before and after the January 6 attacks.
The committee also wants to look at the end of the Secret Service documents missing from January 5-6, 2021, which could shed more light on Trump’s actions during the uprising, especially after his words. testified earlier about the confrontation with security as he tried to join supporters at the Capitol.
Lawmakers are also interested in hearings from Steve Bannon, a Trump ally who was found guilty last week of contempt for congressional charges for refusing to comply with his subpoena House committee.
Cheney has spoken on CNN’s “State of the Union” and “Fox News Sunday,” Kinzinger has appeared on ABC’s “This Week,” and Luria on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
AP Congressional correspondent Lisa Mascaro and Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report.