Washington: More evidence is emerging in the House’s January 6 investigation that lends support to recent testimony that President Donald Trump wanted to join an angry mob that marched to the Capitol where they rioted, a committee member said.
“There will be way more information and stay tuned,” said Republican congressman Adam Kinzinger on Sunday (US time).
The committee has been intensifying its yearlong investigation into the attack on January 6, 2021, and Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Republican Liz Cheney the committee’s vice chair, is making clear that criminal referrals to the Justice Department, including against Trump, could follow.
At least two more hearings are scheduled this month that aim to show how Trump illegally directed a violent mob toward the Capitol on January 6, and then failed to take quick action to stop the attack once it began.
The committee also has been reviewing new documentary film footage of Trump’s final months in office, including interviews with Trump and members of his family.
Kinzinger, in a television interview, declined to disclose the new information he referred to and did not say who had provided it. He said many more details emerged after last week’s testimony from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson and that nothing had changed the committee’s confidence in her credibility.
“There’s information I can’t say yet,” he said. “We certainly would say that Cassidy Hutchinson has testified under oath, we find her credible, and anybody that wants to cast disparagements on that, who were firsthand present, should also testify under oath and not through anonymous sources.”
In a separate interview, another committee member, Democrat Adam Schiff, said: “We are following additional leads. I think those leads will lead to new testimony.”
In Hutchinson’s appearance before the committee last week, Hutchinson painted a picture of Trump as an angry, defiant president who was trying to let armed supporters avoid security screenings at a rally on the morning of January 6 to protest his 2020 election defeat to Democrat Joe Biden.
Legal experts have said Cassidy’s testimony is potentially problematic for Trump as federal prosecutors investigate potential criminal wrongdoing.
“There could be more than one criminal referral,” said Cheney in an interview that aired on Sunday (US time). She said the committee will decide later in the process whether to proceed.
Cassidy also recounted a conversation with Tony Ornato, Trump’s deputy chief of staff for operations, who, she testified, said Trump later grabbed at the steering wheel of the presidential SUV when the Secret Service refused to let him go to the Capitol after the rally.
That account was quickly disputed, however. Bobby Engel, the Secret Service agent who was driving Trump, and Ornato are willing to testify under oath that no agent was assaulted and Trump never lunged for the steering wheel, a person familiar with the matter said. The person would not discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
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In recent days, the committee has subpoenaed former White House counsel Pat Cipollone and has been seeking more information from Ornato and Engel, who were previously interviewed by investigators.
Committee members hope Cipollone will come forward.
“He clearly has information about concerns about criminal violations, concerns about the president going to the Capitol that day, concerns about the chief of staff having blood on his hands if they didn’t do more to stop that violent attack on the Capitol,” Schiff said. “It’s hard to imagine someone more at the center of things.”
The committee has also been working on setting up an interview with Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, the conservative activist and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. She was asked to speak to the committee after disclosures of her communications with Trump’s team in the run-up and day of the insurrection at the Capitol.
Kinzinger appeared on CNN’s State of the Union, Schiff was on CBS’ Face the Nation and Cheney appeared on ABC’s This Week.