The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot sent letters Monday asking three Republican lawmakers to cooperate with the panel and share what they know in regards to the deadly attack.
The panel said it desires to ask one among those lawmakers, Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, about his involvement in planning the events that led to the riot, when a mob of then-President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol and compelled members of Congress into hiding.
The committee’s letter to Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Texas, included text messages sent throughout the riot by members of the far-right militia group the Oath Keepers, saying that Jackson “needs protection” because he “has critical data to guard.”
The committee wants to satisfy with the lawmakers next week, one month before the investigators plan to start out unveiling their findings in a series of public hearings.
Jackson, in a defiant statement later Monday afternoon, said he wouldn’t cooperate with the committee. “I have no idea, nor did I even have contact with, those that exchanged text messages about me on January 6,” his statement said.
Spokespeople for Biggs and Brooks didn’t immediately reply to requests to comment.
Many House Republicans, especially those most vocally allied with Trump, have railed against the select committee and its two Republican members, including Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming. Some GOP lawmakers have already refused to cooperate with the panel.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., rejected the committee’s request to voluntarily provide information, saying he had “nothing else so as to add” to the investigation. But a series of audio tapes, which were recorded shortly after the Capitol riot and leaked last month, showed McCarthy telling Republicans that he would ask Trump to resign as president and worrying about incendiary comments made by his GOP colleagues.
Select committee Chair Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said last week that the panel still wants to listen to from McCarthy in light of the brand new audio.
“As we work to offer answers to the American people about that day, we consider it a patriotic duty for all witnesses to cooperate,” Thompson said in a news release Monday. “We urge our colleagues to hitch the a whole lot of people who’ve shared information with the Select Committee as we work to unravel what happened on January sixth.”
Those a whole lot of witnesses include quite a few high-ranking officials from the Trump White House. One in all Trump’s adult children, Ivanka Trump, has already talked to the investigators, and Donald Trump Jr. is reportedly set to voluntarily testify, as well.
The most recent requests for cooperation from Biggs, Brooks and Jackson include details about why the committee desires to discuss with those lawmakers.
The committee said that Biggs participated in efforts to attempt to overturn the election on Jan. 6, 2021, when Congress met on the Capitol to verify President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory. Trump and his allies — who failed in dozens of lawsuits to reverse Biden’s wins in key swing states — heaped pressure on Vice President Mike Pence to reject the ultimate vote tallies throughout the Jan. 6 proceedings. Pence refused.
Biggs also tried to steer various officials that the 2020 election had been stolen, the panel’s letter said. Trump repeatedly and falsely claimed that he beat Biden and that the race had been rigged through widespread fraud.
The committee also hinted at “recent information” regarding an effort from some House Republicans to hunt presidential pardons for actions related to the push to overturn the election. “Your name was identified as a possible participant in that effort,” the letter to Biggs said.
The letter to Brooks focused entirely on his remarks from earlier this yr, when he said that Trump “asked me to rescind the 2020 elections, immediately remove Joe Biden from the White House, immediately put President Trump back within the White House, and hold a recent special election for the presidency.”
Jackson’s letter, meanwhile, said that newly revealed texts raised questions on the congressperson’s connection to the Oath Keepers. Some members of that group have been charged with seditious conspiracy and other crimes related to the Capitol riot.
The letter shows texts between three Oath Keepers, including the group’s leader, Stewart Rhodes, and two unidentified members.
“Ronnie Jackson (TX) office inside Capitol – he needs [Oath Keeper] help. Anyone inside?” one unnamed Oath Keeper texted at 3 p.m. ET throughout the riot, in accordance with the letter.
A second unnamed person replied: “Hopefully they might help Dr. Jackson.” Five minutes later, the primary member posted a photograph and wrote, “Dr. Ronnie Jackson – on the move. Needs protection. If anyone inside cover him. He has critical data to guard.”
Rhodes then chimed in: “Give him my cell.”
The committee said it desires to ask Jackson whom he spoke with on the phone that day. The investigators also need to know why the Oath Keepers were directed to guard him and why they thought he possessed “critical data.”