House GOP alleges January 6 committee withheld transcripts that undercut some of their most explosive claims

House GOP alleges January 6 committee withheld transcripts that undercut some of their most explosive claims - Crime and Courts - News

Contested Witness Testimonies: January 6 Committee withholds Transcripts Contradicting Sensational Claims about Trump’s Involvement in the Capitol Riots

The House January 6 Select Committee has withheld several witness transcripts from public view that challenge some of their most explosive allegations regarding the involvement of former President Donald Trump in the Capitol riots. This information was revealed in a report issued by House Republicans on January 9, 2023.

Some of these withheld transcripts include testimony from the driver of Trump’s SUV on that fateful day and White House officials, who cast doubt on the assertion that the former president physically attempted to seize control of the vehicle in an effort to join the mob at the Capitol.

The January 6 committee report alleges that these testimonies directly contradict the sensational claims made by Cassidy Hutchinson, a Trump White House aide turned whistleblower. According to the new GOP report, “None of the White House employees corroborated Hutchinson’s story about President Trump lunging for the steering wheel of the Beast.”

Since her blockbuster public testimony in 2022, where she implicated Trump and other high-ranking officials in inciting the violence, Republicans have challenged Hutchinson’s credibility. The SUV incident, which she only heard about but did not witness firsthand, has been a particularly contentious point of contention. However, Hutchinson’s testimony contains numerous shocking and largely uncontested revelations.

The SUV driver is not identified in the Republican report. Their testimony, which was not disclosed by the now-defunct bipartisan January 6 committee, has only come to light through this recent GOP report.

In a statement issued on January 9, Hutchinson’s lawyer, William H. Jordan, asserted that his client “has and will continue to tell the truth.” He added:

“Let me be clear: since Ms. Hutchinson changed counsel, she has and will continue to tell the truth. While other individuals – often men who occupied more senior roles – would not speak with the Select Committee, Ms. Hutchinson and many other witnesses courageously stepped forward.”

Former chairman of the January 6 select committee, Democratic Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, criticized the GOP counter report as “dishonest” and “deceptive.” In a statement, he defended the investigation’s thoroughness:

“The Select Committee also explained clearly why the committee was obligated to send certain transcripts to the executive branch for review and released detailed letters addressing this matter. Loudermilk’s failure to mention the Select Committee’s December 22, 2022, letter is deceptive. The Select Committee was obligated to take these steps in order to protect sensitive information as well as the privacy of witnesses.”

Thompson also accused Loudermilk of attempting to deflect from Trump’s role in the events of January 6 and his own refusal to answer the Select Committee’s questions.

The House Select Committee’s report on January 6 states that the driver testified that they did not recall seeing what Trump was doing during the car ride and did not remember any movement in the vehicle. Additionally, Robert Engel, the lead agent in former President Donald Trump’s motorcade that day, testified that he did not characterize the exchange in the vehicle the way Hutchinson described it.

According to the report, Engel and the driver of Trump’s SUV both testified that within 30 seconds of getting into the vehicle, Trump requested to be taken to the Capitol. The Secret Service agent driving the vehicle noted that Trump was “animated and irritated” about not being allowed to go to the Capitol.

Beyond the dispute over Trump’s potential SUV lunge, some of the newly released transcripts do corroborate other testimony from Hutchinson and others that Trump was enraged when his security detail refused his demands to go to the Capitol. The January 6 panel argued that Trump’s desire to join the mob at the Capitol demonstrates that he supported their attempts to physically disrupt the congressional certification of the 2020 election.

The Department of Homeland Security reported in February that they had twelve transcripts from current and past members of the Secret Service but were still reviewing them at the time, as their internal review was not yet complete.