Jan. 6 committee chair says panel spoke to Bill Barr

Capitol Riots

FILE – Attorney General William Barr speaks during a news conference in Washington on Dec. 21, 2020. (Michael Reynolds/Pool via AP, File)

(The Hill) — Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the chairman of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, on Sunday said the panel has spoken to former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr.

Appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Thompson was asked by host Margaret Brennan if the panel intended on speaking with Barr regarding a draft of an executive order by the Trump administration that would have deployed the National Guard to seize voting machines.

“Well, yes we do. To be honest with you, we’ve had conversations with the former attorney general already,” Thompson said.

“We’ve talked with Department of Defense individuals. We are concerned that our military was part of this big lie on promoting that the election was false,” he said. “So if you are using the military to potentially seize voting machines, even though it’s a discussion, the public needs to know.”

A spokesperson for Thompson’s office later clarified that the panel has spoken to Barr, but not specifically about the proposed order. 

Last week, Politico published a draft of the order that would have directed national defense forces to seize voting machines. The order was never issued and the Jan. 6 committee had declined to comment on the documents at the time.

Brennan asked Thompson whether the Jan. 6 panel had evidence that someone in the U.S. military was working on this potential plan of seizing voting machines.

“We have information that between the Department of Justice, a plan was put forward to potentially seize voting machines in the country and utilize Department of Defense assets to make that happen,” Thompson said.

He clarified that there did not appear to have ever been an operational plan in place, but there was “reason enough to believe that it was being proposed.”

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