The Jan. 6 select committee has reportedly subpoenaed the phone records of more than 100 people, which include a number of former Trump officials and associates such as former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, according to CNN.
CNN reported that the committee has begun receiving some data from phone providers. Although the phone records do not include the content of the calls, they include the details about who called or text whom, as well as when and for how long, which would allow the committee to map out a web of communications in the lead up to, during and after the deadly Capitol insurrection.
Additionally, CNN noted that congressional investigators believe that the data from the phone records could help them gain a better understanding of the communications between those in Trump’s inner circle, the people who organized the “Stop the Steal” rally hours before the attack and the insurrectionists themselves.
Despite the records’ lack of information on the content of those communications, the committee views them as a potential way to learn about details from individuals who are cooperating with their investigation.
“As you know, this is a gigantic puzzle. We’ve got many pieces and we need to put some more pieces together,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), a member of the committee, told CNN on Tuesday. “This is not the content any of text or phone call. It’s time, place, it’s data. Really it’s metadata, and it will help us put together the picture.”
According to CNN, most of the phone records subpoenaed by the committee pertain to individuals who the Justice Department have reviewed for their actions on Jan. 6. But communications have also been requested from some people in Trump’s inner circle, such as Meadows, as well.
CNN’s latest report comes hours after Meadows’ lawyer, George J. Terwilliger III, indicated that his client would no longer cooperate with the probe after a short-lived stint of engaging with the panel.
On Tuesday morning, Terwilliger told the committee in a letter that Meadows was apparently bothered by the committee’s treatment of Meadows “executive privilege” defense.
“In short, we now have every indication from the information supplied to us last Friday — upon which Mr. Meadows could expect to be questioned — that the Select Committee has no intention of respecting boundaries concerning Executive Privilege,” Terwilliger said in a letter to the committee first reported by CNN.
Terwilliger also pushed back at so-called recent “wide ranging subpoenas” sent by the committee to an unnamed third party communications provider. Additionally, Terwilliger objected to recent comments from Thompson about another unnamed witness in the investigation.
“As a result of careful and deliberate consideration of these factors, we now must decline the opportunity to appear voluntarily for a deposition,” Terwilliger wrote.
The committee initially issued a broad request last August for records related to the insurrection from social media and other internet-related companies. The request demanded records about the planning and execution of the attack from a range of companies that include right-wing social networks Gab and Parler, troll forums 4Chan and 8Kun, and mainstream tech giant Google, as well as Facebook, Twitter, and walkie-talkie app Zello.
According to CNN, along with Meadows, the committee has subpoenaed call detail records belonging to many of the same people who have been ordered to turn over documents and appear for interviews as part of the investigation, which include records belonging to people associated with various events in the lead up to the insurrection.
“Wireless carriers are compelled to comply with valid subpoenas and do so every day,” CTIA, a trade association that represents the US wireless communications industry, told CNN in a statement.
The association also told CNN that “affected customers were provided notice and a copy of the subpoena.”
CNN reported that one subpoena requests “all call, message, Internet Protocol and data connection detail records associated with the phone number” from November 1, 2020 through January 31, 2021. The letter also reportedly requests information related to phone numbers, IP addresses and devices that the account in question has communicated with.
Phone records belonging to members of Congress have yet to be subpoenaed by the committee. However, chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) told CNN last week that the potential move is “absolutely” still on the table.
“It’s an investigation, and we are methodically walking through the investigation,” Thompson told CNN.
Although the committee reportedly requested that a group of telecommunications companies preserve the phone records of Republican lawmakers in August, Thompson told CNN last week that the committee hasn’t gotten to a point in the investigation where lawmakers’ records would be of use, but did not rule out the possibility.
“At that point, we’ll make the ultimate decision, whether that’s the direction we want to go,” Thompson told CNN.