WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Jan. 6 committee interviewed former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and is in negotiations to speak to several other former members of Donald Trump’s cabinet as it considers the days after the insurgency of the Capitol and discusses whether to try to remove the then-president from office.
The negotiations come as the committee was questioning former Trump chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Thursday. The former congressman from South Carolina served in that role until 2020 and was then special envoy for Northern Ireland, a position he resigned immediately after the January 6, 2021 riot.
The talks and negotiations were confirmed by three people familiar with the committee’s work who were not authorized to discuss the developments publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The committee asked Mnuchin about talks among Cabinet secretaries to possibly invoke the 25th Amendment constitutional process to impeach Trump after the Capitol attack, according to one of the people, and is in active talks to interview the former secretary. of State Mike Pompeo. Pompeo is likely to appear in the coming days, the person said.
The committee had previously interviewed former acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen, former labor secretary Eugene Scalia and former acting defense secretary Christopher Miller as it focused on Trump and what he was doing in the days before, during and after the riot.
Lawmakers are also in talks with John Ratcliffe, former director of national intelligence, according to two of the people, and are seeking interviews with several senior intelligence officials who had contact with the White House during this time.
Ratcliffe delivered a classified election security briefing in late December 2020 at the request of Jeffrey Clark, a Justice Department official who promoted Trump’s false election fraud allegations.
A person familiar with the matter said Ratcliffe summarized the findings of an election security report that said intelligence agencies had “no indication that foreign actors attempted to alter any technical aspect of the voting process during 2020 US Elections, including voter registration, voting, vote tabulation, or reporting of results.
Trump and outside advisers who were pushing the bogus claims of fraud had suggested that Venezuela had somehow tried to alter the tally through voting machines.
The focus on Cabinet is one of many threads the committee is pursuing after laying out much of its evidence in eight hearings this summer. After a year-long investigation and more than 1,000 interviews, committee members say they want to know a lot more.
The committee is expected to convene additional hearings in September.
Investigators have also contacted former Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, who resigned in the days following the riot, and lawmakers may call on other Trump cabinet officials.
Betsy DeVos, Trump’s education secretary at the time, previously told USA Today that she raised with Vice President Mike Pence whether the Cabinet should consider invoking the 25th Amendment, which which would have forced the vice-president and the majority of the Cabinet to come to an agreement. that the president could no longer fulfill his functions.
DeVos resigned the day after the attack, accusing Trump of inciting the mob.
“There is no doubting the impact of your rhetoric on the situation, and this is the inflection point for me,” she wrote.
At a rally on the morning of Jan. 6, Trump told a crowd of his supporters to ‘fight like hell’ as Congress convened to certify Joe Biden’s election victory, and rioters repeated the false claims of Trump as they broke into the Capitol and violently pushed past the police.
Elaine Chao also resigned as transportation secretary on January 7. Chao, who is married to Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said the attack “deeply troubled me in ways that I just can’t put aside.”
Pompeo, who is now eyeing a presidential election in 2024, and Mnuchin reportedly discussed invoking the 25th Amendment, according to ABC News’ Jonathan Karl in his book “Betrayal.”
For full coverage of the January 6 hearings, visit https://www.apnews.com/capitol-siege