Jan. 6 commission chair seeks texts, phone data from GOP members, Trump associates despite FBI findings

The Democratic chairman of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s select committee to probe the origins of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol Building said Monday he will seek text messages and phone records from some Republican colleagues as well as associates of former President Donald Trump as part of the investigation.

While he declined to identify the GOP lawmakers whose records he is seeking, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said the panel is contacting technology and communications companies along with social media platforms and other sources for records from the day of the breach.

“We have quite an exhaustive list of people. I won’t tell you who they are, but it’s several hundred people that make up the list of people we are planning to contact,” he said after being asked if family members of the former president were included.

Thompson did also say, however, that it would include some GOP lawmakers.

A couple of Republican lawmakers including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio have said publicly they spoke to the then-president on the day of the incident, but it’s not clear if their records will be sought by the panel.

Others who could be on the list include freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, a favorite target of Democrats, two of whom said they saw her days before the riot escorting a “large” group of people in a tunnel that connects to the Capitol. She has said that those people were family members.

Some Democrats have also accused certain Republicans of being involved in a plot to storm the Capitol and change the outcome of the November election, which GOP members have vehemently denied.

To that point, last week the FBI said its investigators have concluded there was no significant plot to storm the Capitol Building.

In an exclusive, Reuters reported that though some 570 people have been charged with crimes in connection to the breach, “the FBI at this point believes the violence was not centrally coordinated by far-right groups or prominent supporters of then-President Donald Trump.”

“Then you have five percent, maybe, of these militia groups that were more closely organized. But there was no grand scheme with Roger Stone and Alex Jones and all of these people to storm the Capitol and take hostages,” one law enforcement source familiar with the investigation told the news outlet.

Small groups of a few members of right-wing organizations like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers met prior to the breach and plotted, but there was no broader, general plan.

Federal prosecutors have charged about 40 people with conspiracy claiming they engaged in at least some pre-breach planning.

“They alleged that one Proud Boy leader recruited members and urged them to stockpile bulletproof vests and other military-style equipment in the weeks before the attack and on Jan. 6 sent members forward with a plan to split into groups and make multiple entries to the Capitol,” Reuters reported. “But so far prosecutors have steered clear of more serious, politically-loaded charges that the sources said had been initially discussed by prosecutors, such as seditious conspiracy or racketeering.”

Earlier this year, Thompson filed a lawsuit against Trump along with his former personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, alleging both of them violated the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act that “prohibits any actions designed to prevent Congress from carrying out its duties.”

Jon Dougherty

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