The members of the January 6 Committee and their staffers are actively preparing for a multi-pronged Republican revenge campaign when the GOP takes the House next month. They anticipate an all-out effort to discredit the panel’s work and punish its workers, according to current and former staff and other sources.
They are prepared for an investigation of the investigation, complete with subpoenas seeking access to a year-and-a-half of their private communications, emails, and other documents.
Some staff have asked their superiors if they need to retain a lawyer, after being previously advised to purchase professional liability insurance.
Apparently Donald Trump spoke to House Republican allies earlier this year about potential plans for tearing through the committee’s undisclosed records and communications in order to uncover dirt or unflattering details. On November 30, Speaker-hopeful Kevin McCarthy told the committee to preserve their records.
The looming attacks add new pressure to an already tense time for the House committee. The panel’s final stretch has been rocked by internal divisions, according to staff members and other sources.
Those sources spoke of “angry” resignations, internal paranoia, finger-pointing, and, above all, bitter disputes over what to include in the final report.
One anonymous staffer reported “…distrust between management (Congressional members) and staff that has unsurprisingly resulted from copious leaks and appallingly bad management for the last 18 months (that) has zapped any remaining goodwill.”
This distrustful climate escalated following a Washington Post story in November that reported 15 staffers were upset that Rep. Liz Cheney had ignored or sought to remove important findings about the insurrection that didn’t directly concern former President Trump.
Some staff have also begun to express regret at what they view as fundamental missteps by committee members in failing to more aggressively pursue some witnesses, including Fox News Host Sean Hannity. However, according to people with knowledge of the matter, Hannity was mostly left alone by the committee — and no subpoena was issued to him — in part due to concerns and potential backlash regarding his First Amendment protections as a pro-Trump journalist.
Sources indicated that Cheney and chairman of the committee Rep. Bennie Thompson were wary of pursuing testimony from Hannity.
Text messages from Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows released by the committee showed Hannity acting as a de facto arm of the campaign in the wake of the election, offering advice on issues like “Directing legal strategies vs Biden.”
Republicans will take over the House at noon on January 3, 2023.
See Rolling Stone for the complete story.