Capitol rioter tells Jan. 6 committee about contacts between state Republicans, Trump allies

Unidentified Capitol rioter described "contacts between GOP officials in a key state Trump lost” and Trump allies

By Igor Derysh

Managing Editor

Published November 9, 2021 6:00AM (EST)

Pro-Trump protesters trying to enter Capitol building. Rioters broke windows and breached the Capitol building in an attempt to overthrow the results of the 2020 election. (Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Pro-Trump protesters trying to enter Capitol building. Rioters broke windows and breached the Capitol building in an attempt to overthrow the results of the 2020 election. (Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

An apparent participant in the Jan. 6 Capitol assault reported contacts between state-level Republican officials and associates of former President Donald Trump to the House committee investigating the January insurrection, according to Politico.

The rioter, who was not named due to fears of retaliation, was reportedly interviewed twice by the committee over the past week or so and "described knowledge of contacts between GOP officials in a key state Trump lost" and Trump's allies, according to the outlet.

This individual, who is apparently among the more than 650 people charged in the attack, told the House committee about these purported contacts in a voluntary interview. The committee asked the rioter to return for a second interview after discussing the contacts. The panel questioned this individual about organizers of the Jan. 6 events and details about legal affidavits backing Trump's election lies, according to the report.

The person was also grilled on why they had attended the Jan. 6 rally and marched to the Capitol. Their "answers made clear that the defendant and others traveled in response to Trump and marched to the Capitol at his direction," Politico reported.

At least 57 state and local officials from 27 different states traveled to the "Stop the Steal" rally on the morning of Jan. 6, HuffPost reported in February. The list included at least 20 Republican state legislators, a state attorney general, six county commissioners, seven city council members, two mayors, three school board members and two state Republican chairs. Four of the GOP officials have been charged with participating in the riot.

Two organizers of the Jan. 6 rally also vowed to provide information about White House officials and House Republicans who participated in rally planning meetings. One organizer told Rolling Stone last month that "Marjorie Taylor Greene specifically," along with "close to a dozen other members," were involved in the planning. Other lawmakers named by the organizers included Reps. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., Mo Brooks, R-Ala., Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., and Louie Gohmert, R-Texas. Gosar, one of the organizers said, even floated "blanket pardons" in a separate investigation to urge them to organize the rallies. The organizers also said that White House chief of staff Mark Meadows played a "major role" in the discussions.

RELATED: Jan. 6 organizers say they held "dozens" of planning meetings with House Republicans: report

The committee began requesting testimony from more than 100 rioters who have pleaded guilty last month and at least three have been cooperative. D.C. District Judge Beryl Howell last week rejected prosecutors' recommended 30-day prison sentence and praised Leonard Gruppo, a military veteran who pleaded guilty to participating in the riot, for "talking to members of Congress on the select committee."

Gruppo's attorney, Daniel Lindsey, told Politico that he gave the committee "specifics about why he went to Washington, what he did and all the events of that day."

"Former President Trump has left chaos, damage and heartache in his wake and he has shown no responsibility for all the lies," Lindsey added.

The Jan. 6 panel has quietly made a lot of progress in its probe. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the top Republican on the committee, told Politico on Thursday that investigators have already interviewed more than 150 people.

"We've had, actually, over 150 interviews with a whole range of people connected to the events, connected to understanding what happens, so that just gives you a sense," she told the outlet. "It is a range of engagements — some formal interviews, some depositions … There really is a huge amount of work underway that is leading to real progress for us."

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The committee is keeping the list of interviews under wraps but along with the three rioters the committee is known to have interviewed former acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue, Steve Bannon ally Dustin Stockton and former White House communications chief Alyssa Farrah. At least five former Trump administration staffers have voluntarily spoken with the committee, according to CNN.

Last Friday, the committee also interviewed former Justice Department attorney Jeffrey Clark, who aided Trump's efforts to pressure the DOJ to push false claims about the election and urge states to delay the certification of their election results. Clark was subpoenaed by the committee after refusing to appear voluntarily, and multiple reports over the weekend suggested he was uncooperative in his Friday appearance.

The committee has also issued subpoenas to rally organizers and others involved in the event. Additionally, the panel has requested Trump administration records from the National Archives and has asked 35 tech and telecom companies for records related to about a dozen House Republicans and numerous other people. Trump has filed a lawsuit aimed at blocking the release of hundreds of White House records but a judge last week seemed to reject the former president's executive privilege claim, noting that there is only one current executive. The White House has said that President Biden will not block the release of the documents.

The committee also issued subpoenas to Bannon, Meadows, former Trump aide Dan Scavino and former Pentagon official Kash Patel. Bannon is the only one of the people subpoenaed who has refused to cooperate with the investigation. The House voted last month to hold Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress, referring the matter to the Justice Department.

Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., told CNN that the panel may issue about 20 more subpoenas in the coming days, but declined to say who they will target.

"Some of the people have been written about," he said. "Some of the people haven't been written about."

Read more on the attempts to uncover the truth about Jan. 6:

By Igor Derysh

Igor Derysh is Salon's managing editor. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and Baltimore Sun.

MORE FROM Igor Derysh

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