The dispute centers on a rare breach for a committee that, by most accounts, has operated with little drama and internal dissension. It’s also an unwelcome distraction for the panel on the eve of its long-awaited slate of public hearings, which are due to begin next week.
In a phone call on Friday, Riggleman strongly disagreed with Buckley’s assessment, saying it was “demonstrably wrong” but that he wanted to “continue to help the committee in any way possible.”
The former GOP congressman from Virginia said he was no longer employed by the panel and was not bound by any agreement limiting his media appearances. A spokesperson for the select panel declined to comment on Riggleman’s internal email and television appearances.
Riggleman, who held the title of “senior technical adviser” to the select committee, announced his departure in late April, saying he would move on to his “next mission to help Ukraine” at an unspecified non-profit organization.
In media interviews, he described leading an effort to dissect a batch of text messages that former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows provided to the committee and to link phone numbers to names. These text messages were obtained last month by CNN, which periodically released batches of them, although the station did not release the full cache.
During his television appearance — as well as a subsequent appearance on CNN on Friday morning — Riggleman checked the validity of the text messages and described his horror at their contents. He also discussed the committee’s work to link various participants to former President Donald Trump’s efforts to void the 2020 election, describing it as a sophisticated data-driven operation that could take years to fully analyze, despite the timeframe. compressed from the panel.
Buckley cited those details in his Wednesday email to staff.
“His specific discussion of the contents of subpoenas, our contracts, contractors and methodologies, and your hard work is baffling,” he wrote.
And Buckley reminded staff that their employment contracts include a commitment “not to discuss our work outside of the committee without my express permission.”
“This includes any conversation with Denver,” he wrote. “Your commitment extends beyond your employment with the House, as outlined in our handbook.”