Jan. 6 House Panel Interviews Mnuchin, Follows Trump Cabinet – Press Herald | Region & Cash

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testifies before a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, December 2, 2020. Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP, file

WASHINGTON — The Jan. 6 committee of the House of Representatives interviewed former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and is in negotiations to speak with several other former members of Donald Trump’s cabinet as he discusses the days after the riot in the Capitol and discussions about whether an attempt should be made to remove the then President from office.

The negotiations come as the committee interviewed Trump’s former chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Thursday. The former South Carolina congressman held that job until 2020 and later served as special envoy for Northern Ireland, a post he resigned immediately after the January 6, 2021 riots.

The interviews and negotiations were corroborated by three people familiar with the committee’s work, who were not authorized to discuss developments publicly and who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The committee asked Mnuchin for discussions among cabinet secretaries about potentially invoking the 25th Amendment constitutional process to remove Trump after the attack on the Capitol, according to one of the people, and is in active talks to bring in former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo interview. Pompeo will likely 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 focuses on Trump and his activities in the days before, during and after the uprising.

According to two of the people, lawmakers are also in talks with John Ratcliffe, the former director of national intelligence, and are seeking interviews with several senior intelligence officials who were in contact with the White House at the time.

Ratcliffe held a secret election security briefing in late December 2020 at the request of Jeffrey Clark, a Justice Department official who promoted Trump’s false claims of voter fraud.

A person familiar with the matter said Ratcliffe summarized the findings of an election security report that intelligence agencies had “no evidence that foreign actors attempted to alter technical aspects of the voting process in the 2020 US election, including voter registration and voting, Voting evaluation or reporting of results.”

Trump and outside advisers who pushed the bogus fraud allegations had suggested that Venezuela had somehow attempted to alter the count through voting machines.

The focus on Cabinet is one of several issues the committee is pursuing after presenting much of its evidence at eight hearings this summer. After a year of research and more than 1,000 interviews, committee members say they have a lot more to learn.

The committee is expected to convene further hearings in September.

Investigators have also reached out to former Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, who resigned in the days after the riots, and lawmakers may call in other Trump cabinet officials.

Betsy DeVos, Trump’s then Secretary of Education, previously told USA Today that she raised the question with Vice President Mike Pence whether the cabinet should consider invoking the 25th Amendment, which requires approval by the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet would have required that the President could no longer fulfill his duties.

DeVos resigned the day after the attack, accusing Trump of inciting the mob.

“There’s no mistaking the impact your rhetoric had on the situation and that for me is the turning point,” she wrote.

At a rally on the morning of Jan. 6, Trump had told a crowd of his supporters to “fight like hell” as Congress met to confirm Joe Biden’s election victory, and rioters repeated Trump’s false claims as they entered broke into the Capitol and violently pushed past the police.

Elaine Chao also resigned as Minister of Transport on January 7th. Chao, who is married to Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said the attack “deeply disturbed me in a way I just can’t put aside.”

Pompeo, now considering a presidential nomination in 2024, and Mnuchin reportedly discussed the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment in his book Betrayal, according to ABC News’ Jonathan Karl.


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