Republicans Slam January 6 Select Committee’s Harassment of Law-Abiding Trump Staffers

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 21: Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) (L), joined by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-ON) (C)
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

House Republican congressmen Reps. Jim Banks (IN) and Jim Jordan (OH) on Wednesday slammed the Democrat-run House Select Committee on January 6 and its harassment of former Trump administration officials and others who acted lawfully, in a conference call hosted by the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC).

Banks, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, said:

It’s all based on a conspiracy theory. According to the committee, January 6 was an inside job. It was an attempted coup disguised as a political rally that was secretly orchestrated by President Trump and his closest advisors. That is a lie and as all of you know, it’s crazy.

Banks noted the FBI’s finding that the break-in at the Capitol Building was spontaneous and there was little evidence of an organized plot to overturn the election by Trump or his supporters, as first reported by Reuters. He also cited an “internal security breakdown” that contributed to the break-in of the Capitol.

But, he said, “because the media parrots the insane lie, it still has consequences.”

He said the committee has subpoenaed 45 individuals so far, most former Trump officials and only five tied to groups that broke into the Capitol on January 6. “So about 10 percent of the subpoenas have been sent to the people responsible for the violence that day,” he said.

Banks said 18 of the subpoenas target people “whose only crime was organizing or speaking at a legal and permitted political protest.”

“That is an unprecedented abuse of power by Congress,” he said.

The committee, whose members are Democrats except for Reps. Liz Cheney (WY) and Adam Kinzinger (IL), recently subpoenaed telephone companies for the phone records of some of those subpoenaed.

“Our understanding at this point is they have not subpoenaed [congressional] member information, but they are subpoenaing telephone records of private American citizens,” a GOP aide said on the call.

CPAC Chairman Matt Schlapp decried the treatment of young former White House staffers who have been subpoenaed and are now being accused of domestic terrorism.

“What this appears to be is a giant effort in opposition research to destroy anybody associated with President Trump and President Trump himself,” Schlapp said.

“There [are] American citizens who are having to turn over literally their diary entries — personal information — just in case they can find just one thing that they can leverage a Republican with now or in the future,” he said, adding:

It seems like there’s a desire to just wreck these people. Once you can [label] someone with the slur of being a domestic terrorist, what’s next? We had this fight in Virginia where parents were called domestic terrorists. Now basically anyone who worked for Donald Trump and tried to put a rally together is an insurrectionist or a domestic terrorist.

GOP aides say that Democrats are sharing very little information with Republicans on the select committee’s activities.

The committee’s members are seven Democrats and two Republicans, Cheney and Kinzinger, who were handpicked by Democrats. After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) rejected some of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)’s list of Republicans recommended to serve on the committee, he said he would not appoint any Republicans to the committee.

“I think everyone understands that this is now just a complete political operation by the Democrats,” said Jordan. “It’s just completely political. They don’t want to get to the main question, which is why wasn’t the Capitol properly secured that day?”

Jordan said Democrats are using the committee as a distraction. “What the heck else are they going to talk about? Are they going to talk about the 30-year-high inflation rate? Are they going to talk about the border that’s a complete mess? Are they going to talk about the price of gasoline? Are they going to talk about crime up in every major urban area? Are they going to talk about how they can’t even pass their agenda?”

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