Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), who chairs the House select committee investigating the events of Jan. 6, signaled that the panel is willing to subpoena members of Congress or former President Trump in an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Monday.
Speaking to the WSJ a day before the committee’s first public hearing, Thompson also indicated that the panel will make efforts to enforce the subpoenas in court if need be.
“Anybody who had a conversation with the White House and officials in the White House while the invasion of the Capitol was going on is directly in the investigative sights of the committee,” Thompson told WSJ.
Thompson said that potentially includes issuing subpoenas to compel testimony in addition to records related to phone calls and other communications.
Thompson also made clear that the committee wouldn’t hesitate to subpoena Trump.
“I don’t want to name him, but what I will say is that in the conversations we’ve had as a committee, there’s been no reluctance whatsoever to go where the facts lead us,” Thompson told WSJ.
Trump, who was impeached by the House earlier this year for “incitement of insurrection” but acquitted in the Senate, “may or may not have contributed willingly or unwillingly to the events of Jan. 6,” Thompson told WSJ.
In contrast with the bipartisan Senate probe into the events of Jan. 6, the House select committee’s scope extends beyond security failures to investigate communications between Congress and the executive branch as well as the role of individuals, which includes Trump.
The committee’s first hearing scheduled on Tuesday comes on the heels of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) throwing a fit over Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) move to reject two of his picks for the panel.
Shortly after Pelosi vetoed McCarthy’s appointments of Reps. Jim Banks (R-IN) and Jim Jordan (R-OH) to the panel last week, McCarthy withdrew all five of his picks and accused Pelosi’s decision of being part of a partisan effort that aims to hurt the former president and the GOP ahead of next year’s midterms.
Thompson told the WSJ that committee members were concerned that Banks and Jordan, both of whom are Trump loyalists and voted to overturn the election results, wouldn’t act in good faith and would fail to keep the committee’s deliberations within the committee.
On Sunday, Pelosi announced her appointment of Kinzinger to the committee, making the Illinois Republican the second Republican to join the panel after Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY). Kinzinger and Cheney are vocal Trump critics who voted for the former president’s impeachment earlier this year and refused to do his bidding of pushing the big lie of a “stolen” presidential election.
Thompson noted that Cheney will serve an active role on the panel. Cheney is set to deliver the second opening statement after Thompson during the panel’s first hearing on Tuesday.
“What we’re trying to paint for the public is exactly what went on and what went through the minds of the (officers) who saw people attacking them,” Thompson told WSJ.