A House committee’s investigations into the events that unfolded in the United States Capitol on Jan. 6 are beginning to ramp up significantly.
A report recently published in Rolling Stone reveals that the insurrection had significant planning involvement from incumbent members of Congress and staff of the Trump White House. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), in an interview with Margaret Brennan, moderator of CBS’ Face the Nation, is quoted as saying that there is “no question” the attack was organized in advance, and that “the worst kept secret in America is that Donald Trump invited individuals to come to Washington on Jan. 6.”
Furthermore, the promise of a “blanket pardon” is alleged to have been given to the Jan. 6 rioters from the Oval Office itself. Thompson later goes on to mention the role of Steve Bannon—Trump’s former Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor—bringing up his podcast and how it covered the events that unfolded on that day.
Bannon was subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 committee; however, he defied it under the advice of Donald Trump. On Oct. 21, the House voted 229-202 to find Bannon in criminal contempt of the body, a vote that was made virtually on party lines, with only nine Republicans joining all Democrats in voting to find him in contempt. Two of these Republicans, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and Nancy Mace of South Carolina, had not voted to impeach Donald Trump in the aftermath of the attack.
The Jan. 6 Committee voted unanimously to find him in criminal contempt, citing that they believe he has information relevant to the investigation. The fate of Bannon is now in the hands of the Justice Department and federal prosecutors, with the legal effort expected to drag out for several months.
The individuals who spoke to Rolling Stone and who planned the events of that day, laid out in a list those in power who allegedly aided the coup attempt from the inside.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (R-FL) was specifically mentioned as a key player, and a video from her Twitter account shows her saying, “just finished with our meetings here at the White House, we had a great planning session for our January 6th objection. We are not going to let this election be stolen by Joe Biden and the Democrats…we already have a lot of people engaged.”
According to Rolling Stone, other engaged people include Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Rep Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Rep Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Rep Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), who is quoted as saying he’d “be proud” if his staffers assisted in the planning of the insurrection.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), a member of the investigative committee, claims that former Pres. Donald Trump himself may have been personally involved with the planning of the event, using the Trump’s advice to Bannon not to appear before the committee subpoena as evidence to bolster her view.
Trump also filed a lawsuit claiming executive privilege over National Archive records that the committee had intended to collect; however, these privilege claims are being rejected by the Biden White House. Even more inopportunely for Donald Trump, the sources used by Rolling Stone said that they plan to tell all to the committee: this includes information related to communications, to financing, and specific names as to who was involved—which includes people from both Trump’s administration and his campaign. These actors include former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Katrina Pierson, an individual who worked with both of Trump’s presidential campaigns.
With subpoenas seemingly coming off as a losing strategy, lawyers retained by the committee are offering people of interest to voluntarily speak with the body. As of now, five unnamed Trump administration staffers are cooperating with the committee, under the pretext that the body is attempting to piece together an understanding of and context of the actions undertaken within the West Wing before, during, and after the insurrection.
With more people connected to the event talking, those with possible knowledge of it coming to the table, and several staffers and officials refusing the subpoenas issued by the committee, there is increasing effort from both sides to gain ground.
Where the committee may go and what its next move will be is uncertain; however, the Rolling Stone article provides a wealth of new information to make sense of. With a midterm election approximately a year away—an election that may hold consequences for the committee and its actions should members of the body lose their seats—the development of these findings will play a key role in the near future of American politics.