Jan. 6 Committee Talks to Steve Mnuchin, Probes If Trump’s Cabinet Actually Wanted To Remove him

In its first eight hearings, the January 6 committee focused primarily on the lead-up to last year’s deadly insurrection and Donald Trump‘s actions as the violence played out. As the panel continues its probe, it appears to be taking a harder look at the immediate aftermath of the riot — including allegations that the former president’s Cabinet considered invoking the 25th amendment to remove him from office.

House investigators have reportedly interviewed former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchinand are expected to receive testimony in the coming days from former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; ABC News’ Jonathan Karl reported in his book Betrayal that the two led discussions about the 25th amendment following the Capitol attack, but that legal analysis ordered by Pompeo “determined that it would take too much time, considering that Trump only had 14 days left in office and any attempt to forcefully remove him would be subject to legal challenge.” Interest in the episode was renewed last month after Cassidy Hutchinsonthe former top aid to Mark Meadowsthe chief of staff at the time, testified that Trump only agreed to release a video scolding the rioters as “cover” against the possibility of being ejected from the office.

“There was a large concern of the 25th amendment potentially being invoked,” Hutchinson told the committee, “and there were concerns about what would happen in the Senate if it was.”

Pompeo later denied having discussions about the matter to Karl, and Marc Shortformer chief of staff to then-Vice President Mike Pence, told CNN on Thursday that he did not “recall there being any serious conversation” about removing Trump. “That was n’t happening in 10 days in the administration,” said Short, who appeared last week before a grand jury investigating the Capitol attack and Trump’s role in it. “This was really just a political ploy by Nancy Pelosi and Democrats in Congress to try to put pressure to exert this and it was never going anywhere in our White House.”

Mnuchin and Pompeo are just two of the former Trump officials the committee has pursued in its most recent round of investigation; it is also seeking testimony from the former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffeand on Thursday interviewed Meadows’ predecessor, Mick Mulvaney, who resigned as ambassador to Northern Ireland following the Capitol attack. “They said they were gonna give us all this evidence about how we were going to win and they had nothing,” Mulvaney told CBS News recounting conversations he had with members of Trump’s inner circle following the 2020 election. “That’s when I decided it was over.”

The committee, which wrapped up its first batch of hearings last week with a primetime accounting of Trump’s actions during the 187 minutes of the attack, has a busy August of investigation before it is expected to hold additional hearings in the fall. In addition to the former Cabinet members, the panel is also seeking testimony from Ginni Thomasthe wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas; another loose end it will attempt to tie up is the matter of missing Secret Service texts, which were deleted last year. The Department of Homeland Security inspector general is conducting a criminal investigation into the matter. In a twist, communications from Chad Wolfthe former acting DHS secretary, and Ken Cuccinellihis deputy, are also apparently missing, having been similarly deleted in a “reset” of their government phones in January 2021. “It is extremely troubling,” Representative Bennie Thompson, chair of the January 6 committee, said in a statement. “If the Inspector General had informed Congress, we may have been able to get better records from Senior administration officials regarding one of the most tragic days in our democracy’s history.”

.

Leave a Comment