On Tuesday, CNN reported that the committee investigating the attack of the U.S. Capitol has formally subpoenaed phone records from over 100 individuals, including a number of officials from the Trump administration, as a part of its probe into the former president’s bid to overturn the 2020 election.
The report cited “multiple sources familiar with the matter,” and those same sources contend that the committee has already received some data. If true, investigators might be able to use these records to improve their understanding of who was in contact with the president or other officials in his orbit before, during, and after the insurrection took place.
CNN reported Tuesday that most of the records subpoenaed “belong to individuals who have also been looked at by the Justice Department” for their conduct on Jan. 6.
Rep. Bennie Thompson, who chairs the select committee, contested the reporting late Tuesday, according to a reporter at The Guardian:
Mark Meadows, Trump’s onetime chief of staff, was among the officials targeted by the committee. His attorney, George Terwilliger, announced on Tuesday that despite once agreeing to cooperate with the probe, he has now decided against it and cited the committee’s alleged phone records dragnet as part of the reason for his about-face.
“We learned over the weekend that the select committee had, without even the basic courtesy of notifying us, issued wide-ranging subpoenas for information from a third party communications provider with regard to either the broad breadth of the information sought, which include intensely personal communications,” Terwilliger wrote.
Notably, the phone records targeted by the committee “do not include information about the substance of the communications,” CNN reported.
While Meadows has cited executive privilege as the reason he first declined a request for records and deposition from the committee, he recently published a memoir that investigators say undercuts his claim to privilege.
Rep. Adam Schiff, a California Democrat and member of the Jan. 6 Committee, told Politico last week that It is “very possible that by discussing the events of Jan. 6 in his book, if he does that, he’s waiving any claim of privilege.”
“So, it’d be very difficult for him to maintain ‘I can’t speak about events to you, but I can speak about them in my book,” Schiff said.
As excerpts from Meadows’ book, The Chief’s Chief, started circulating, questions began to mount and namely over a passage where Meadows said Trump tested positive for COVID-19 shortly before debating then-candidate Joe Biden in October 2020.
Trump tested negative right after testing positive, Meadows wrote, and with that indeterminate finding, he opted to join Biden on the debate stage anyway because Trump believed the negative test was the correct one.
With an apparent cover-up announced to the world via Meadows’ memoir, Trump has reportedly expressed outrage to his former chief of staff. A source told The Daily Beast that the former president called Meadows’ book “fucking stupid,” a far cry from his initial glowing review in October.
Reeling from the chaos he created, Meadows called the cover-up assertion by reporters who read the excerpt he wrote, “fake news” and despite finally agreeing to cooperate with the committee’s probe a week earlier, Meadows reversed course Tuesday.
Though Meadows’ attorney cited the committee’s sweeping phone records requests as the latest nail in the coffin, this sort of thing is standard.
This August, the committee subpoenaed 14 social media and technology companies for records and according to CNN, the 100 or more people targeted by the committee were notified and issued a copy of the subpoena for the records.
Additionally, this past August, the committee issued a request to dozens of telecommunications companies to preserve records from GOP lawmakers, members of Trump’s family, and the former president. Those companies included Sprint, AT&T, Verizon Wireless and U.S. Cellular.
The names of those lawmakers were not revealed but the committee said in August that they flagged them to the telecom companies because they played some role in the Jan. 6 Stop the Steal rally at the Ellipse.
Lawmakers who associated with the rally publicly include Reps. Mo Brooks of Alabama, Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs of Arizona, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Jody Hice of Georgia, Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Matt Gaetz of Flordia, Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Jim Jordan of Ohio, and Louie Gohmert of Texas. This list may not be comprehensive.