The chairman of the congressional committee investigating the US Capitol attack and Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election revealed on Sunday that the panel has spoken to the former attorney general William Barr, a further indication that the inquiry has moved closer to the ex-president’s inner circle.
Bennie Thompson told CBS’s Face the Nation that Barr, who was accused of making the justice department Trump’s tool but who resigned before Trump left office, had spoken more than once with the panel.
“To be honest with you, we’ve had conversations with the former attorney general already,” Thompson said.
His host, Margaret Brennan, asked if the panel would seek answers from Barr over the discovery of a draft executive order for the US military to seize voting machines in contested states.
“We have talked to Department of Defense individuals,” Thompson said. “We are concerned that our military was part of this big lie on promoting that the election was false. If you are using the military to potentially seize voting machines, even though it’s a discussion, the public needs to know.”
News of the interviews with Barr, who angered Trump by insisting there was no evidence to support his lies of a stolen election, dealt another blow to the former president, whose political and legal woes escalated significantly this week.
Unlike other Trumpworld insiders who have refused to cooperate with the January 6 committee, such as the former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, strategist Steve Bannon and national security adviser Michael Flynn, Barr appears to have spoken willingly.
It reflects moves by the House panel to focus more closely on Trump’s actions following the election, including his inciting of the deadly January 6 attack on the US Capitol.
This week, the committee asked for the cooperation of Trump’s daughter Ivanka.
“Our strategy is to get to all the facts and circumstances that brought about January 6,” Thompson said.
“And obviously Ivanka Trump was a major adviser to the president all along, a number of items [are] attributed to what she’s been saying and so we asked her to come in voluntarily and give us the benefit of what she knows.”
The inquiry has also subpoenaed phone records of Trump’s son Eric and Kimberly Guilfoyle, partner of Donald Jr.
Trump is not pleased, complaining in an interview with the rightwing Washington Examiner that the committee was made up of “vicious people” who “go after children”.
Donald Trump Jr is 44, Ivanka Trump is 40 and Eric Trump is 38.