“Nothing is off-limits” when it comes to investigating the Capitol insurrection and former President Donald Trump’s role in it, according to the man charged with leading a House select committee probe into the deadly attack.
“There will not be a reluctance on the part of the committee to pursue it,” Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) told The Guardian, referring to Trump’s involvement.
Thompson confirmed the investigation will “absolutely” include the former president and some of his allies. He said the committee would particularly be interested in Trump speaking to House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) on the phone during the attack.
“If somebody spoke to the president on January 6, I think it would be important for our committee to know what was said. I can’t imagine you talk about anything else to the president on January 6,” Thompson said in an interview published Wednesday.
He said he is prepared to remove members of Congress and senior Trump administration officials who are found to have participated in the Jan. 6 attack, which left five people dead, and that he will issue subpoenas and file lawsuits if Trump administration officials refuse to appear before the committee when asked.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who created the 13-member House Homeland Security Committee after Senate Republicans blocked the creation of a bipartisan commission to investigate the Capitol riot, tapped Thompson to lead the group earlier this month.
In response to his committee appointment, Thompson on Tuesday withdrew a federal lawsuit that he had filed against Trump in February. That suit accused the former president of inciting the insurrection and conspiring with his lawyer and extremist groups to try to block the certification of the 2020 presidential election results.
Thompson said in a court notice that although he “continues to believe strongly in the merits of this case, he wishes to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.”
McCarthy, who reportedly called Trump during the insurrection and asked the president to call back his violent supporters, nominated five Republicans to serve on the House committee: Rep. Jim Banks (Ind.) to be the top Republican of the group, as well as Reps. Jim Jordan (Ohio), Rodney Davis (Ill.), Kelly Armstrong (N.D.) and Troy Nehls (Texas).
Pelosi said Wednesday that she rejected the nominations of Banks and Jordan, who both voted against certifying the election results for Joe Biden.
In an immediate tit for tat, McCarthy announced that Republicans “will instead pursue our own investigation of the facts” unless Pelosi reconsiders her decision.