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After being scorned by Trump, will Brooks answer Jan. 6 questions?

After Donald Trump un-endorsed Mo Brooks, the congressman was asked if he might help assist the Jan. 6 investigation. The Alabama Republican didn’t say no.


Late last year, the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack took a bold step: The panel asked three Republican members of Congress — Pennsylvania’s Scott Perry, Ohio’s Jim Jordan, and California’s Kevin McCarthy — to voluntarily cooperate with investigators. The trio refused.

In theory, their decision not to answer questions could’ve led the committee to try to subpoena them, which would’ve been an even bolder step, but the panel hasn’t been willing to go that far. In fact, by all appearances, the bipartisan committee has pursued other avenues, largely giving up on getting information from sitting lawmakers.

That is, until last week, when Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama started talking about the impermissible steps Donald Trump directly pressured him to take. It’s against this backdrop that Politico reported:

Brooks’ admission, which came hours after Trump unendorsed his flagging Senate candidacy, put renewed pressure on House investigators to obtain testimony from recalcitrant Republican colleagues. And then Brooks all but dared the committee to call him, hinting he might comply, when reporters asked him Tuesday if he would testify.

Pressed on whether he’s prepared to answer investigators’ questions, the Alabaman said, “I will take that under advisement if they ever contact me.”

That wasn’t a “no.”

In case anyone needs a refresher, Trump endorsed Brooks’ Senate campaign last year after years in which the GOP congressman showed the former president fierce loyalty. But as Brooks’ candidacy lagged, and Trump didn’t want to be associated with a failing campaign, the former president un-endorsed Brooks last week, abandoning his longtime ally.

Soon after, the congressman started sharing some fresh insights. For example, Brooks said in a written statement that Trump asked him to “rescind” the 2020 elections, remove President Joe Biden from office, reinstall Trump into the White House, and “hold a new special election for the presidency.” According to his account, the Alabaman told the former president that such steps weren’t possible.

“I took a sworn oath to defend and protect the U.S. Constitution,” Brooks wrote. “I honor my oath. That is the way I am. I break my sworn oath for no man.”

As we discussed, this raised a few eyebrows: A sitting GOP lawmaker, known for his allegiance to Trump, put in writing that the former president urged him to ignore the Constitution and help him claim power Trump failed to earn.

What’s more, Brooks soon after told NBC News that the referenced lobbying efforts were relatively recent — after Sept. 1, 2021 — and he found it necessary to explain to the former president that he would not do what is “legally impossible.”

In the same interview, Brooks said Trump pushed for some kind of do-over election. He reiterated similar allegations in a separate interview with a local CBS affiliate a day later, including the idea that Trump wanted to be returned to power before the 2024 election.

A New York Times report noted that the congressman’s comments “marked the first time a lawmaker who was involved in Mr. Trump’s attempts to invalidate his election defeat has said that Mr. Trump asked for actions that, were they possible, would violate federal law.”

Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chair of the Jan. 6 committee, told Politico the panel hasn’t yet “engaged” Brooks, but “he’s one of the folks that we have been looking at.”

It’s an open question as to what might happen next. If the committee sought Brooks’ voluntary cooperation, would he be amenable? Would it take a subpoena? Does he even have additional information that he hasn’t yet shared publicly?

For now, these questions don’t have answers, but the fact that Brooks is hinting at a willingness to talk to the committee is itself a provocative step, and a reminder of something we talked about last week: “Hell hath no fury like a pro-Trump congressman scorned.”