January 6 committee chairman says panel has ‘significant testimony’ the White House ‘had been told to do something’ during insurrection


“We have significant testimony that leads us to believe that the White House had been told to do something,” Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Democrat of Mississippi, told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.” “We want to verify all of it so that when we produce our report and when we have the hearings, the public will have an opportunity to see for themselves.”

He added: “Well, the only thing I can say, it’s highly unusual for anyone in charge of anything to watch what’s going on and do nothing.”

Asked whether he believes then-President Donald Trump’s actions during the insurrection warrant criminal referral, Thompson replied: “We don’t know … If there’s anything we come upon as a committee that we think would warrant a referral to the Department of Justice, we’ll do that.”

The comments come days before the one-year anniversary of the attack, in which a pro-Trump mob temporarily overcame law enforcement officers and stormed the Capitol, attacking officers and destroying parts of the iconic building. The ensuing chaos led to the deaths of multiple people the day of the attack or shortly thereafter, while several officers who responded to the Capitol during the attack later died by suicide.
Thompson’s committee — which includes two Republican members — has been investigating the attack and the events leading up to it since earlier this year. Much of the committee’s work to this point has taken place behind closed doors, and an interim report on its findings is not expected until the summer.

The chairman said on Sunday that the panel has “some concerns” about potential financial fraud by Trump and his allies around the insurrection.

“It’s highly concerning on our part that people raise money for one activity and we can’t find the money being spent for that particular activity,” he said. “So we’ll continue to look at it and the financing is one of those things we will continue to look at very closely.

He also wouldn’t say if the panel is planning to subpoena members of Congress, such as GOP congressman and Trump ally Jim Jordan of Ohio, to cooperate with the committee.

“I would hope that those individuals who took an oath of office as a member of Congress would come forward,” he said. “That’s why we’ve asked them to come voluntarily.”

Thompson said the panel is still working through testimony and documents from witnesses about the makeshift “war room” at DC’s Willard Hotel that was run by Trump allies Rudy Giuliani and Steve Bannon the day of the attack.

“Part of our work is to try to get access to the records on that day, who paid for it. Bernie Kerik is significant. He started cooperating with our committee, we look forward to that cooperation to continue,” he said. “The hotel has been asked to provide information for us, so we’re in the process of doing our investigation.”

CNN previously reported that Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner, made public emails that show him cutting off payments for a suite of rooms at the hotel, where Trump’s post-election “war room” operated, and directing Giuliani to pick up some of the tab.

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