Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., on Sunday said the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riots has spoken to former Attorney General William Barr. File Pool Photo by Michael Reynolds/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riots at the Capitol, said Sunday that the panel has spoken with former U.S. Attorney General William Barr.
Thompson, D-Miss., told CBS News' Face the Nation that the committee had spoken to Barr and Department of Defense officials about reports that former President Donald Trump had been presented a draft of an executive order directing the defense secretary to seize voting machines in battleground states in December 2020.
"To be honest with you, we've had conversations with the former attorney general already. We have talked to Department of Defense individuals," Thompson said. "We are concerned that our military was part of this big lie on promoting that the election was false. So, if you are using the military to potentially seize voting machines, even though it's a discussion, the public needs to know, we've never had that before."
Politico was the first to report on the draft of the order which empowered the defense secretary to "seize, collect, retain and analyze all machines, equipment, electronically stored information, and material records required for retention" under a U.S. law related to preservation of election records.
It also would have given the defense secretary 60 days to write an assessment of the 2020 election and greenlit the appointment of a Special Counsel to oversee the operation and "institute all criminal and civil proceedings as appropriate."
The draft cited unfounded theories about election fraud in Georgia and Michigan and debunked allegations about Dominion voting machines.
Thompson on Sunday also said the committee was "in the process of reviewing" 700 pages of Trump administration documents that were handed to the panel after the Supreme Court ruled to deny Trump's request to block their release.
"We'll see if that information leads us to additional individuals to make requests. But it's so significant to our investigation to have the documents and executive privilege and other things obviously had no bearing and we're just happy for the Supreme Court decision," he said. "We'll look forward to reviewing it and based on the review, we'll take next steps."
Thompson added the committee still expected to hold public hearings for its investigation in the spring.
"We are reviewing thousands of pages of documents, hundreds of witnesses," he said. "It's taken a good bit of time for the committee to put together. And hearings at this point, we expect to be sometime in the spring."