On Monday, August 30, the committee investigating the January 6 incidents on Capitol Hill sent 35 letters to telecommunications companies requesting that all call and message records of individuals, which include Republican representatives, who participated in the January 6 demonstration on Capitol Hill, be withheld.
The request seeks the withholding of emails, call records, and all types of communication between the various social media platforms. Although the names of the individuals from whom the information was requested have not been publicly disclosed, both committee chairman Bennie Thompson and Adam Schiff confirmed to the media that the scope of the investigation includes other representatives.
“The Select Committee today sent letters to 35 private-sector entities, including telecommunications, email, and social media companies, instructing them to preserve records which may be relevant to the Select Committee’s investigation. The Select Committee is at this point gathering facts, not alleging wrongdoing by any individual,” the committee said in a statement.
“We have quite an exhaustive list of people. I won’t tell you who they are, but it’s several hundred people that make up the list of people we are planning to contact,” Thompson told reporters last week.
According to a report by The Hill, the people who would be reached by this request are those who participated in the so-called ‘Stop the Steal’ demonstrations which include Republican Representatives Andy Biggs, Paul Gosar, Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert, Mo Brooks, Madison Cawthorn, Louie Gohmert, Jody Hice, Scott Perry, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Jim Jordan.
For its part CNN says the committee will also seek the records of former President Donald Trump, his daughter Ivanka, his sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, his daughter-in-law Lara Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle, who is Trump Jr.’s girlfriend and worked on the campaign.
The letters sent Monday by the committee include Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Signal, Slack, YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, and major cell phone companies such as Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile, US Cellular.
The committee asked Google for all emails, Google Drive files, and location history and deletion logs while the phone companies have been asked to retain all text messages, geolocation, and call data.
Georgia Rep. Marjorie Greene said the committee’s decision is “all an attempt to smear us and remove us from office. Or even worse, put the strongest political enemies of the Democrats in jail.”
Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana criticized the move, saying, “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.”
The FBI’s findings
The Democratic committee’s decision comes days after the FBI stated last August 20; it found no evidence that the demonstration that ended with the breach of the congressional perimeter was centrally coordinated.
Moreover, Rep. Thompson’s decision to include the former president in the investigation does not seem to reflect the fact that Trump was already exonerated in the second impeachment after finding no evidence that he had incited his supporters to act violently, a ruling that would, under normal circumstances rule him out of such procedure.