Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), who chairs the Jan. 6 Committee, on Sunday said that the panel has had conversations with former Attorney General Bill Barr.
During an interview on CBS, Thompson was asked whether the committee intends to ask Barr about a draft executive order reportedly handed to former President Trump that would have directed the secretary of defense to seize voting machines and authorized the appointment of a special counsel to investigate them weeks after the 2020 presidential election.
Thompson replied that the committee has had conversations with Barr already and that it has also talked to individuals at the Department of Defense.
“We are concerned that our military was part of this Big Lie promoting that the election was false. So, if you are using the military to potentially seize voting machines, even though it’s a discussion, the public needs to know — we’ve never had that before,” Thompson said. “And so any of these individuals who are participating and trying to stop the election, the duly election of a president, and if we can document it, we will share it with the public.”
Thompson said it’s unclear to the committee whether someone inside the U.S. military was working on an effort to seize voting machines, but that the draft executive order is “reason enough to believe that it was being proposed.”
“We have information that between the Department of Justice, a plan was put forward to potentially seize voting machines in the country and utilize Department of Defense assets to make that happen,” Thompson said.
Thompson then stressed that the committee’s job is to find out the facts and circumstances surrounding the deadly Capitol insurrection last year and how far the efforts to foment the insurrection went.
“We do know that a potential person was identified to become the attorney general of the United States, who would communicate with certain states that election on their situation had been fraudulent and not to produce certified documents. Well, we understand that,” Thompson said. “So, we will move forward on that investigation, and we will look and see specifically how far that plan went.”
Thompson’s appearance on CBS comes days after Politico first reported on the Trump-era draft executive order that laid out a plan to seize voting machines. The order, which was dated Dec. 16, 2020 and was among the documents that Trump’s lawyers unsuccessfully attempted to shield from the committee, was never issued. According to Politico, it is unclear who authored the draft and the extent to which Trump considered it.
Additionally, Thompson’s remarks were issued days after the committee made headlines for its requests for cooperation from figures in Trump’s inner circle. Last week, the committee announced that it asked Trump’s eldest daughter Ivanka Trump to voluntarily cooperate with its investigation. The committee also subpoenaed some key players in Trump’s orbit for testimony, such as Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Jenna Ellis and Boris Epshteyn.
According to CNN, the committee had also subpoenaed and subsequently obtained phone records associated with Eric Trump, as well as with Kimberly Guilfoyle, Donald Trump Jr.’s fiancée.
Watch Thompson’s remarks below: