As the anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack nears, there's some uncertainty surrounding the state of the investigation into the deadly violence. As we discussed last week, there's no shortage of conflicts, with key members of Donald Trump's team ignoring subpoenas, suing the bipartisan select committee, or both. These clashes give the impression of a stymied probe, struggling to get necessary information in the face of partisan obstinance.
But behind the scenes, the investigation has quietly advanced, collecting materials, conducting interviews, and preparing to share revelations with the public. The Associated Press reported overnight:
In the coming months, members of the panel will start to reveal their findings against the backdrop of the former president and his allies' persistent efforts to whitewash the riots and reject suggestions that he helped instigate them. The committee also faces the burden of trying to persuade the American public that their conclusions are fact-based and credible. But the nine lawmakers — seven Democrats and two Republicans — are united in their commitment to tell the full story of Jan. 6, and they are planning televised hearings and reports that will bring their findings out into the open.
Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, the co-chair of the bipartisan select committee, told the AP, "The full picture is coming to light, despite President Trump's ongoing efforts to hide the picture. I don't think there's any area of this broader history in which we aren't learning new things."
Such as? The Wyoming congresswoman also appeared yesterday on ABC News' "This Week," and told George Stephanopoulos investigators have "firsthand testimony" that the then-president was sitting in a dining room next to the Oval Office during the attack, watching the Capitol violence unfold on television in real time.
Describing what could've happened in the West Wing on Jan. 6, Cheney added, "The president could have at any moment, walked those very few steps into the briefing room, gone on live television, and told his supporters who were assaulting the Capitol to stop. He could have told them to stand down. He could have told them to go home — and he failed to do so. It's hard to imagine a more significant and more serious dereliction of duty than that."
The GOP lawmaker went on to say in the same interview that the committee also has "firsthand testimony" that Ivanka Trump "at least twice" asked her father to help stop this violence during the attack.
Around the same time, Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chair of the House panel, told CNN's Dana Bash that investigators have received "significant testimony that leads us to believe that the White House had been told to do something" about the violence during the pro-Trump riot.
As for document production, Politico reported on New Year's Eve that Bernie Kerik, the disgraced former New York City Police commissioner who reportedly created "command centers" for the Trump campaign's anti-election strategy, has begun cooperating with the probe — to a point.
While Kerik has reportedly "delivered a trove of documents to Jan. 6 investigators," Politico also reported that he provided the committee with a "privilege log" describing materials he doesn't believe he can disclose. From the article:
Among the withheld documents is one titled "DRAFT LETTER FROM POTUS TO SEIZE EVIDENCE IN THE INTEREST OF NATIONAL SECURITY FOR THE 2020 ELECTIONS." Kerik's attorney Timothy Parlatore provided the privilege log to the panel, which said the file originated on Dec. 17, a day before Trump huddled in the Oval Office with advisers including former Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, where they discussed the option of seizing election equipment in states whose results Trump was attempting to overturn. Trump ultimately opted against that strategy, but his consideration of the option is one of the key questions the panel is probing as part of its broader investigation into attempts to overturn the election.
It's a safe bet that investigators will want to know more about that document.
In case anyone needs a refresher, Kerik, after his release from prison, partnered with Rudy Giuliani. Kerik was reportedly a participant in a Jan. 5 meeting in which attendees discussed strategies to overturn the election results at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C.
He also received a presidential pardon from Trump in February 2020.