Former Attorney General Bill Barr has met with the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot, Chairman Bennie Thompson revealed on Sunday.
The Mississippi Democrat appeared on CBS News’ Face The Nation where he confirmed a report that Donald Trump was presented with an executive order during the last full month of his presidency which would have had the military seize voting machines in battleground states.
‘Do you intend to go to the Attorney General, Bill Barr, to ask him about this? I mean, how do you follow up on this kind of allegation and the paperwork to back it up?’ host Margaret Brennan asked.
Thompson said they already had — but did not elaborate on what the conversation was about.
‘To be honest with you, we’ve had conversations with the former attorney general already,’ he said, adding: ‘We have talked to Department of Defense individuals. We are concerned that our military was part of this big lie on promoting that the election was false.’
‘So, if you are using the military to potentially seize voting machines, even though it’s a discussion, the public needs to know, we’ve never had that before.
‘And so any of these individuals who are participating and trying to stop the election, the duly election of a president, and if we can document it, we will share it with the public.’
He did not say whether Barr would testify again during the panel’s upcoming public hearings, only vowing they would ‘continue to engage’ with people relevant to the probe into what led to the insurrection on January 6 of last year.
Thompson revealed for the first time on Sunday that his committee has heard from former Trump Attorney General Bill Barr
He didn’t say what Barr, who left the administration at the end of December 2020, discussed
Barr resigned from his post as attorney general in late December 2020, and has since publicly dismissed Trump’s election fraud theories.
Late last week Politico published the text of a draft executive order that would have forced the Defense Secretary to ‘seize, collect, retain and analyze’ voting machines in states that narrowly went to President Joe Biden in 2020.
The order, dated December 16, 2020, would also direct the Department of Homeland Security to aid the military effort and called for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate baseless claims the election was rigged.
Thompson on Sunday confirmed his committee had knowledge of such a draft.
‘We have information that between the Department of Justice, a plan was put forward to potentially seize voting machines in the country and utilize Department of Defense assets to make that happen,’ he said.
The lawmaker said the next steps would be finding out ‘how far’ the defunct plan made it before it was killed.
‘We do know that a potential person was identified to become the attorney general of the United States, who would communicate with certain states that election on their situation had been fraudulent and not to produce certified documents,’ Thompson explained.
The panel has credible information that Trump had reviewed a draft executive order that would have seized voting machines in battleground states, Thompson also revealed
‘Well, we understand that. So, we will move forward on that investigation, and we will look and see specifically how far that plan went.’
He gave an indirect answer when asked if that meant Barr or members of the Defense Department would be required to appear at the committee’s future hearings.
‘Well, part of our plan is to continue to engage all those individuals that we deem necessary and important to our investigation,’ Thompson said.
‘Some will talk to some we will do in deposition under oath. Others we will offer hearing opportunities. But I can assure you, as we develop this information, we will clearly present it to the public.’
He said those public hearings are expected to occur ‘sometime in the spring.’
Last week the committee closed further in on Trump’s inner circle, signaling that even members of the former president’s own family were fair game.
The Democrat-led bipartisan panel sent an 11-page letter to Ivanka Trump on Thursday seeking information on her father’s actions ahead of and during the Capitol riot.
Among other things, they are looking for details on a meeting that occurred the morning of January 6, 2021 during which then-Vice President Mike Pence told Trump he would not stop the certification of Biden’s White House victory.
Ivanka reportedly pleaded with her father multiple times to stop the riot as he watched it unfold on TV from the West Wing.
The panel also sent subpoenas to former Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis, Sidney Powell and former Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn.