Jan. 6 panel wants information from Biggs, Brooks and Jackson
The panel wants to know why the Oath Keepers would have an interest in Jackson’s specific location, among other questions
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot wants to interview Reps. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., Mo Brooks, R-Ala., and Ronny Jackson, R-Texas — lawmakers who, at the time, were all allies of Donald Trump.
Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., on Monday sent letters to each member proposing a meeting the week of May 9.
“The Select Committee has learned that several of our colleagues have information relevant to our investigation into the facts, circumstances, and causes of January 6th,” Thompson and Cheney said in a statement.
The committee wrote to Jackson, the former top White House physician under Trump and President Barack Obama, inquiring about members of the Oath Keepers, including leader Stewart Rhodes, exchanging encrypted messages during the Capitol attack asking to provide Jackson with security because he has “critical data to protect.”
The letter says “it is evident” the Oath Keepers believed the violence of the riot would endanger the lives of members. The panel wants to know why the Oath Keepers would have an interest in Jackson’s specific location; why they think Jackson would have crucial information to protect; why they directed group members to protect Jackson; and who Jackson spoke with on his cell phone that day.
In the hours before the attack, Jackson posted photos of himself at the Ellipse rally and tweeted: “American Patriots have your BACK Mr. President! We will FIGHT for YOU and we will fight for OUR country!!”
The committee wants to know when Jackson returned from the Ellipse to the Capitol and the communications he had with participants in the rally or march to the Capitol. Further, the panel notes Jackson helped barricade the House chamber doors and wants to hear from him about the reactions and statements of other members during that time.
In a statement to a Texas newspaper, Jackson was defiant, saying: "Yet again, the illegitimate January 6 Committee proves its agenda is malicious and not substantive. It speaks volumes that the Committee would choose to share its letter with the media before it was shared with me. I do not know, nor did I have contact with, those who exchanged text messages about me on January 6."
"In fact, I was proud to help defend the House Floor from those who posed a threat to my colleagues. The Committee’s witch hunt against me is nothing more than a coordinated attempt to do the media’s work on taxpayers’ dime," he said. "Their attempt to drag out a manufactured narrative illustrates why the American people are sick of the media and this partisan Committee’s use of January 6 as a political tool against conservatives they do not like. For these reasons, I will not participate in the illegitimate Committee’s ruthless crusade against President Trump and his allies."
The panel told Biggs it is aware of his participation in planning meetings for Jan. 6, including an in-person meeting at the White House among Biggs and other members of the House Freedom Caucus on Dec. 21, 2020. Discussions that day addressed a plan for Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to count some states’ certified electoral votes.
The committee told Biggs it is aware that "Stop the Steal" rally organizer Ali Alexander publicly said Biggs was among those who devised the idea to bring protestors to Washington on Jan. 6. The panel wants to know what Biggs “knew before the violence on January 6th about the purposes, planning, and expectations for the march on the Capitol.”
Biggs is also of interest to the panel because of particular communications he had with former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on the topic of persuading state officials to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. Also, the committee says recent information from former White House employees has identified an effort by some House Republicans to seek a presidential pardon for activities taken to overturn the election results and Biggs was identified as a potential participant in that effort.
Brooks spoke at the Ellipse rally ahead of the insurrection. The committee wants to ask Brooks about a recent public statement he made about Trump, saying the former president asked Brooks to “to rescind the 2020 elections, immediately remove Joe Biden from the White House, immediately put President Trump back in the White House, and hold a new special election for the presidency.”
Brooks went on to say “As a lawyer, I’ve repeatedly advised President Trump that January 6 was the final election contest verdict and neither the U.S. Constitution nor the U.S. Code permit what President Trump asks. Period.”
Such comments are part of a rift between Brooks and the 45th president. In March, Trump revoked his endorsement of Brooks in the Alabama Senate primary race.
The committee said the discussion Brooks disclosed with Trump is “directly relevant to the subject of our inquiry, and it appears to provide additional evidence of President Trump’s intent to restore himself to power through unlawful means.”
No lawmaker has been subpoenaed by the panel thus far. Other members who the committee has sought to speak with, on a voluntary basis, are House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio.