Committee returns to update findings on Capitol attack

  • The Secret Service erased texts from Jan. 6 and the inspector general is investigating.
  • Anthony Ornato, a top White House and Secret Service official, retired abruptly since the hearings.
  • Committee members are eager to explore how much Trump's Cabinet considered discussed removing him.

WASHINGTON – The House committee investigating the Capitol attack on Jan. 6, 2021, hasn’t announced the subject of Thursday’s hearing, but they have plenty of options to discuss since a series of blockbuster hearings in June and July.

Over the last few months, a series of revelations about the Secret Service included the erasure of texts from Jan. 6 and the abrupt retirement of a key official. 

Committee members have also called for more scrutiny of subjects the panel touched on in the past. The subjects include Cabinet member discussions about potentially removing then-President Donald Trump from office, the Trump campaign’s recruitment of fake electors for the 2020 election and Trump’s fundraising after the election.

A video of Ivanka Trump speaking is shown on a screen as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds its first public hearing.

Here are subjects the committee could explore:

  • The Secret Service erased the texts from 24 members of the agency during a routine replacement of phones. But the phone migration began Jan. 26, 2021 – after four House committees requested texts and other documents Jan. 16.
  • The Secret Service provided the committee with 800,000 pages of communications, although not the texts from the day of the riot, according to the panel’s vice chairwoman, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo.
  • The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general began a criminal probe of the erasures in July.
  • Two key House chairmen, including the head of the investigative panel, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., urged the inspector general, Joseph Cuffari, to step aside because he hadn’t notified the committee about the lapse for months.
  • A top Secret Service official, Anthony Ornato, who was Trump’s deputy chief of staff for operations and also assistant director for training at the agency, retired abruptly in August. Another former White House aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, testified that Ornato told her on Jan. 6 that Trump wanted to join the mob at the Capitol and lunged at one of the Secret Service officers protecting him.
  • Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, was questioned in September by the committee. She repeated claims the 2020 election was stolen, despite a lack of evidence. Her lawyer, Mark Paoletta, said she voiced her concerns and condemned the violence of Jan. 6.
  • Roger Stone, the Republican political consultant and longtime Trump confidant, is the subject of a documentary that committee staffers have reviewed. Stone was in contact with Trump campaign aides and with extremist groups such as the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers in the days before Jan. 6, although he didn’t participate in the riot.
A video clip of Trump ally Roger Stone is projected on a large screen during a public hearing of the House Jan. 6 committee July 12.

Were Trump's Cabinet members trying to remove him from office?

Committee members, including Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., have been eager to learn more about Trump’s Cabinet members discussing whether to remove him from office and replace him with Vice President Mike Pence.

The Constitution’s 25th Amendment, ratified in 1967, allowed for the vice president to work with a majority of the president’s Cabinet or a majority of a panel of lawmakers to remove an unfit president from office.

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