First Transcripts From A Committee Meeting On January 6 Show That Important Witnesses Are Refusing To Speak: The House select committee looking into January 6, 2021, uprising released more than 30 witness interview transcripts on Wednesday. The transcripts were from conservative attorney John Eastman and former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who helped former President Donald Trump try to change the results of the 2020 election.
Most of these people used their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination during their interviews with the committee, which is mainly confirmed by the transcripts. However, their full testimony sheds some new light on the panel’s closed-door depositions.
Several witnesses whose full transcripts were released on Wednesday were mentioned in the summary of the committee’s report that was made this week. It said that they mostly refused to answer the panel’s questions meaningfully. But the transcripts also show that witnesses like Eastman and Flynn, who both made false claims about widespread election fraud, didn’t give the committee any proof to back up their claims.
The names of the House investigators who do the interviews are not written in the transcripts, but it is clear when a panel member asks a question. From the newly released transcripts, we learned the following:
Michael Flynn Thanked Donald Trump For Letting Him Go Free
Flynn said that the Fifth Amendment protects him from having to testify against himself in almost every question. Flynn did answer some of the first questions about his background and time in the military. For example, he said that he joined “The America Project,” which was started by Patrick Byrne, the former CEO of Overstock and a known election denier. He also said yes when the committee asked him if he knew why Trump let him go free.
According to the transcript, Flynn said, “Because I think he thought my whole case was a travesty of justice.” But when asked why he didn’t give any documents in response to the committee’s subpoena, Flynn used the Fifth Amendment. He did this for every other question during his March deposition.
John Eastman Wouldn’t Say If The Papers With His Name On Them Were Written By Him Or Not
The transcript of Eastman’s testimony shows that he used the Fifth Amendment to avoid answering every question from the committee. The January 6 committee, the Department of Justice, and state prosecutors in Georgia are all looking into his role in trying to overturn the 2020 election.
The transcript shows that Eastman was asked about his role in overturning the election, which included writing several legal memos, meeting with former Vice President Mike Pence‘s staff, and talking with lawmakers at every level. He was also asked about how he spoke to Trump himself, but he refused to answer every time.
When Asked How Old He Was, Roger Stone Took The Fifth
Roger Stone’s meeting with the select committee lasted 51 minutes, and he refused to answer any of the questions they asked him by citing the Fifth Amendment. Stone did not say anything about any of the photos, public statements, interview clips, or text messages the panel showed him.
The select committee shows Stone and “Stop the Steal” rally organizer Ali Alexander, who the committee also interviewed, text messages from January 6 in which the two talk about how the rallies that day would work.
Stone would not say who paid for his private flight from Florida to Washington, DC, in the days before January 6 or who paid for his hotel room at the Willard InterContinental, where he and other Trump supporters set up what has been called a “war room” on January 6. He also wouldn’t say who asked him to speak at events on January 5 and 6, what those events were, or if he even went to them.
Jeffrey Clark Showed Up Twice
Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department employee Trump wanted to make attorney general, stymied the committee in two interviews. When Clark testified for the first time in November 2021, his lawyer gave the committee a 12-page letter of objections that, according to the transcript, included concerns about presidential communications privilege, law enforcement investigation privilege, deliberative process privilege, and attorney-client privilege.
A vague letter from a Trump lawyer raising initial concerns about executive privilege was sent along with the letter. Members of the committee and its staff argued for a long time with Clark’s lawyer, Harry MacDougald, about the scope of the objections letter, whether the concerns about privilege were valid, and what to do next. Clark weighed in on the legal debate from time to time, but he only answered a single factual question about a Justice Department email address.
When a committee staff member said that the panel would take a break to look at the objections letter more closely, Clark and his lawyer said they would leave the deposition instead. Even though the committee told them to stay during the break, they did it anyway.
During the second deposition, which took place in February 2022, Clark used the Fifth Amendment more than 120 times, including when he was asked if he had worked at the Justice Department on January 6, 2021. At first, his lawyer was angry that committee members thought taking the Fifth was the same as admitting guilt.
The Leader Of The Proud Boys Wouldn’t Say Who Paid For The Group’s Trip To Dc
During a deposition with former Proud Boys Chairman Enrique Tarrio, committee investigators used public images and videos, private phone records, and criminal court filings against other Proud Boys members to ask Tarrio about his ties to other extremist groups, the former president, and his allies.
Investigators asked Tarrio who invited him to the White House in December (he said Latinos for Trump president Bianca Gracia) and how well he knew Stone. The committee’s investigators also used Trump’s tweets and other quotes about the January 6 rally and the Proud Boys, such as his famous “stand back and stand by” comment.
“I thought it meant, ‘Hey, there’s an election coming up. “I heard, ‘Stand by,'” Tarrio said. “I also think he meant, ‘Stand by me as President,’ like, I’ve never failed. I think he was telling the American people that. I haven’t let you down yet, so please support me.” Investigators seemed especially interested in finding out who paid for Proud Boys to go to and stay in Washington, DC. Tarrio didn’t tell the committee anything about the donors or finances of Proud Boys.
New Information About A Lesser-known Trump Campaign Figure’s Role
The committee’s interview with Mike Roman, a senior adviser to Trump’s reelection campaign who was in charge of Election Day operations, sheds light on a lesser-known campaign figure who is now under investigation by the Justice Department.
Roman used his right under the Fifth Amendment not to incriminate himself when the committee asked him about his plans after the 2020 election. But he did answer some of the committee’s questions about what he had been doing before the election.
Roman told investigators, “I don’t think I talked to Rudy Giuliani before the election.” Giuliani was a lawyer who used to work for Trump. But when asked about his meetings with Giuliani after Election Day, Roman said, “On the advice of counsel, I assert my constitutional privilege under the Fifth Amendment and respectfully decline to answer the question.”
When investigators asked Roman what he knew about how state legislatures choose electoral college electors before Election Day, Roman said, “I wasn’t thinking about that.”Based on the information that congressional investigators used to question Roman, it seems likely that he later helped push fake lists of electors to help Trump win.
Investigators asked Roman about an email in which Josh Findlay, who worked for the Trump campaign and later became the national director for election integrity for the Republican National Committee, told a group of people that Roman was in charge of making sure the fake elector voting happened on December 14.
When investigators asked Roman what he did, he pleaded with the Fifth again. His transcript shows that he also used the Fifth Amendment to avoid answering questions about how the Trump campaign looked into claims of voter fraud, attempts to seize voting machines, putting martial law in place, and several other things.
Gop Rep. Gosar Couldn’t Talk To A Pro-trump Strategist About The Text
During Alexander Bruesewitz’s deposition with the committee earlier this year, an investigator asked him about a text that GOP Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona sent to a “Stop the Steal DM chat” on the day of the insurrection. The political strategist did not answer.
“So, it’s still January 6, and it looks like it’s 5:15 p.m. ET. According to a transcript of the deposition, the investigator said that Representative Gosar sent the group a direct message saying, “We’re still on lockdown in the congressional office.” “He sends it to everyone in Stop the Steal. So, did you talk to Rep. Gosar all day on January 6?” “With all due respect,” Bruesewitz said, “I plead the Fifth.” He then used the Fifth Amendment again in response to a follow-up question about why Gosar was “telling this Stop the Steal group that his office was locked down.”
CNN had said before that “Stop the Steal” leader Alexander had given the committee thousands of text messages and communication records, including ones with Gosar, that showed his interactions with members of Congress and Trump’s inner circle before the riot.
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