The select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection on Wednesday sent a flurry of requests to federal agencies for records related to the attack, including communications from the Trump White House.
It’s the panel’s first step to seek documents on how the U.S. government handled the chaos. Set up by House Democrats with two anti-Trump GOP members, the select committee is escalating its investigation even as the House breaks for a monthlong recess.
The committee announced that it plans to seek records from the executive branch related to the attack and its run-up — including “communications within and among the White House and Executive Branch agencies” on and before Jan. 6.
The requests also sought records on attempts to place politically loyal personnel in positions across the government after the election, the planning, organization and response to Jan. 6 and earlier, and attempts to overturn the rule of law and overturn the 2020 election.
The panel sent requests to the National Archives and Records Administration, the Department of Justice, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of the Interior, the FBI and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
The select committee is expected to focus on documents from the U.S. Park Police, a component of the Department of the Interior; and the National Counterterrorism Center, a component of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. That center was established after the Sept. 11 attacks as a hub for analysis about terror threats.
Such analysis comes from more than a dozen separate agencies and offices in the sprawling U.S. Intelligence Community, and compiling it all in one place is supposed to give national security officials clarity on threats. In the case of the Jan. 6 attack, however, U.S. officials clearly underestimated the danger.
A separate House probe scrutinizing Trump’s final weeks in office shut down earlier this month as its investigators handed off their work to the select committee. A group of House panels had previously requested documents related to Jan. 6 from several of the federal agencies that the select committee solicited Wednesday, but Democrats wanted to consolidate their existing inquiries under one investigation's umbrella. The requests ask the agencies to fulfill the unmet document requests.
The new probe has slowly ramped up over the past few weeks, hiring staff and holding its first hearing. That hearing focused on the violence Capitol Police officers faced during the attack on Jan. 6. But more details on the dangers they faced — and warnings their superiors ignored — will likely emerge in coming weeks.
In one newly public example, the Secret Service warned officials in the Capitol Police department the day before the attack that their officers could face violence on Jan. 6 at the hands of Trump supporters, according to emails POLITICO first reported Wednesday morning. It is unclear how widely that warning circulated within the police department.
Select Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) signaled earlier in the week the panel would also soon send requests to social media and telecommunications companies to ask them to preserve communications records related to the attack — including those of members of Congress.
The call records could be of interest to congressional investigators seeking more details on the timeline of the attack and for answers to unresolved questions about requests for National Guard aid.
Phone records requests could also reveal details of deliberations within the Capitol Police. A notoriously opaque agency, the department disclosed in a Tuesday statement that their command staff used cellphones on Jan. 6 “in order to limit radio traffic.” All of the department’s personnel had previously been issued smartphones to “improve communication,” officials said.
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