Capitol riot: Phone records for ‘Stop the Steal’ lawmakers and Trump family targeted in committee request, report says

Committee to ask telecoms companies to preserve phone records of GOP members of Congress, CNN reports

Alex Woodward
New York
Monday 30 August 2021 16:27
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A select committee to investigate the riot at the US Capitol will reportedly ask telecommunications companies to preserve phone records for a group of Republican members of Congress as well as the records of Donald Trump and family members who played a role supporting the “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the assault.

The request from the House Select Committee follows dozens of subpoenas seeking a massive trove of documents from executive branch agencies, including those belonging to Trump administration officials, and social media companies, including Twitter, Facebook, Google, Reddit and right-wing platforms that provided an open forum for threats of violence.

CNN reports that the committee may ask phone companies to preserve records from GOP Reps Andy Biggs, Lauren Boebert, Mo Brooks, Madison Cawthorn, Matt Gaetz, Paul Gosar, Louie Gohmert and Marjorie Taylor Greene, among others, all of whom attended, encouraged people to attend or otherwise endorsed the “Stop the Steal” campaign and rally spinning the baseless narrative that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” from Mr Trump and his supporters, which fuelled the attack on the halls of Congress to undermine the votes of millions of Americans.

The records request may also target the former president and his daughter Ivanka, his sons Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump, daughter-in-law Lara Trump, and Trump Jr’s girlfriend and campaign aide Kimberly Guilfoyle.

Republican US Rep Jim Banks, one of several GOP lawmakers that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had picked to serve on the committee before his list was largely rejected by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, warned committee chair Bennie Thompson that “rifling through the call logs of your colleagues would depart from more than 230 years of Congressional oversight.”

“This type of authoritarian undertaking has no place in the House of Representatives and the information you seek has no conceivable legislative purpose,” he said in a letter on 27 August.

The Independent has requested comment from Rep Thompson’s office.

The scope of the committee’s requests signals an uncompromising deep dive into the events leading up to and during the insurrection in Washington DC, following Republican opposition and obstruction to the creation of a bipartisan committee. Two Republicans – Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, both prominent critics of Mr Trump and his allies – serve on the committee.

A first wave of requests to eight government agencies includes White House offices, the departments of Defense and Homeland Security as well as the Justice Department, FBI and intelligence agencies.

The letter to the National Archives and Records Administration calls for White House records from the Trump administration, as well as former vice president Mike Pence, to be submitted to the committee no later than 9 September.

Those records include communications among more than 30 Trump-era White House staff and cabinet officials and associates – including call logs, phone records, meeting memos and White House visitor records.

Requests to 15 social media companies call for documents “related to the spread of misinformation, efforts to overturn the 2020 election or prevent the certification of the results, domestic violent extremism, and foreign influence in the 2020 election” across their platforms, according to the committee.

Letters request internal reports on mis- and disinformation on their respective platforms related to the 2020 presidential election, as well as efforts to overturn or interfere with the certification of votes, the presence of QAnon groups and violent extremists on their platforms, and “foreign malign influence” to influence elections.

Their answers must be submitted to the committee no later than 9 September.

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