The January 6 Committee ended its year-and-a-half-long investigation without releasing publicly several pieces of evidence.
Last month, the panel released its final report, recommended charges against former President Donald Trump, and began to release hundreds of witness materials. But because the panel disbanded at the start of the new session of Congress, it cannot release the information that has been sent to the National Archives, according to Politico.
Undisclosed materials include text messages between key witness Cassidy Hutchinson and other Trump administration officials, as well as the transcript of an interview conducted with Robert Engel, the Secret Service agent who led former President Donald Trump’s security detail on January 6, 2021.
The full testimony of Engel and Anthony Ornato, a now-former Secret Service and White House aide, remains a significant source of intrigue as anonymous Secret Service sources told the media they were ready to dispute Hutchinson’s account of being told by Ornato that Trump lunged at Engel inside the presidential SUV on January 6, 2021, when Trump was informed they were not going to drive to the U.S. Capitol after his speech on the White House Ellipse.
“No excuse why Bobby Engel’s transcript can’t be released,” tweeted American Greatness senior writer Julie Kelly. “The only reason to bury it is because he contradicted what Casidy [sic] Hutchinson said about the physical encounter with Trump. GOP should demand it.”
The January 6 Committee said in a letter to the Homeland Security Department requests by Secret Service lawyers and private attorneys for Secret Service agents to keep certain information and records withheld from public disclosure. Another letter from Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Vice Chairwoman Liz Cheney (R-WY) warned the White House they could not ensure the confidentiality of certain witnesses once Republicans took over the House.
In one transcript that was released for an interview with Ornato, Ornato said he could not recall the alleged altercation in the SUV. Politico’s Kyle Cheney noted the panel did not release transcripts of two prior interviews the committee conducted with Ornato after which members questioned his honesty. The January 6 Committee said in its final report that it regarded Hutchinson and corroborating testimony from another White House official “as earnest and has no reason to conclude that either had a reason to invent their accounts.”
Other materials that were never released include text messages from Ivanka Trump, the former president’s daughter and White House adviser, that were referenced in her interview, as well as text messages between a top aide to former Vice President Mike Pence and an aide to Sen. Ron Johnson (W-WI) referenced by the January 6 Committee during one of its public hearings, per Politico.
The January 6 Committee appears to have not released publicly about 30 gigabytes worth of evidence, specifically exhibits to the transcripts that were disclosed with redactions, federal prosecutors wrote in a court filing this week as part of a case against several members of the Oath Keepers.
While working to woo GOP holdouts in his bid to become speaker, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) agreed to a provision in the House rules package for the new session of Congress to demand the transfer of records from the January 6 Committee to the House Administration Committee by January 17.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said on Wednesday that McCarthy vowed to release 14,000 hours of U.S. Capitol security footage from January 6, when a crowd of people entered the U.S. Capitol, disrupting lawmakers meeting to certify President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory. McCarthy told reporters on Thursday the American public “should see” what happened on that day. “We’re looking through that,” he added. “I want to be very thoughtful about it. But yes, I’m engaged to do that.”