Former attorney general William P. Barr has spoken with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection, the committee chairman said Sunday, a further indication that several former Trump administration officials are cooperating with the panel even as others are fighting efforts to compel their testimony.
The bipartisan House panel is investigating the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob trying to stop the confirmation of Joe Biden’s electoral college win, an attack that resulted in the deaths of one police officer and four others and injured about 140 members of law enforcement.
“We are concerned that our military was part of this big lie on promoting that the election was false,” Thompson told CBS News. “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.”
So far, it appears the committee, made up of seven Democrats and two Republicans, has not asked Barr about that draft executive order, according to a person familiar with the committee’s work, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters. Barr could not be reached for comment Sunday. The former attorney general plans to publish a book soon about his time in the George W. Bush and Trump administrations, where he will touch on “the 2020 election fallout,” among other topics, according to his publisher.
“The Committee would like to discuss any other conversations you may have witnessed or participated in regarding the President’s plan to obstruct or impede the counting of electoral votes,” Thompson wrote in his request to Ivanka Trump.
The committee’s conversations with Barr have been informal, according to a committee staffer who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters. The committee’s contact with Barr started last year as the committee sought more information about the activities of former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, who encouraged the department to intervene after the election.
When Clark was called before the panel last year, he declined to answer questions, citing executive privilege and attorney-client privilege. According to a transcript of a committee deposition, lawmakers had intended to ask Clark about his communications and discussions with Trump, along with efforts by the former president to install Clark as acting attorney general.
“We then wanted to talk specifically about efforts that he took, proposed that the Department take with respect to election fraud,” said panel member Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), according to the transcript.
In addition, the committee has already interviewed Barr’s successor, Jeffrey Rosen. Rosen also took questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee for a separate probe into Trump’s efforts to influence the Justice Department. Clark is expected to return for questioning before the Jan. 6 committee in the near future.
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated there are seven Republicans and two Democrats on the House Jan. 6 committee. There are seven Democrats and two Republicans. The article has been corrected.