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Capitol riots: Experts weigh in on House select panel seeking phone records on January 6
This week, the House Select Committee probing the January 6 Capitol insurrection said that it would look to obtain the phone records from several individuals, including members of Congress. Legal experts explained that the move would determine how seeking the call logs and records would fit in the investigation.
CNN reported Monday that the panel investigating the riots would be issuing subpoenas on social media sites and telecommunications companies to investigate who was communicating with the insurrectionists at that time. Former federal prosecutor Elie Honig and former DHS official Juliette Kayyem explained that these records would also help determine how the pushing of the big lie by disgraced former President Donald Trump resulted in the insurrection in the first place.
Honig explained that the phone records would be able to answer questions that would come up, such as whether or not there was contact between certain members of Congress or their staff with the insurrectionists on that day, and if there was communication between the staff and the Trump White House. To note, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Ohio GOP Rep. Jim Jordan are known to have made contact with Trump at that time.
“What they show is what cell phone number called to what number when and for how long,” explained Honig.
“And I think investigators need to look for two specific things here. One, was there contact between members of Congress or their staff and the people who actually rioted on Jan. 6th in the days and hours leading up to that? If so, what were you talking about and why? Two, were there communications between the staff and the White House? McCarthy and Jim Jordan were in contact with Donald Trump. How many times? Who else? That will give Congress a road map of how they answer questions,” Honig added.
Hundreds of the insurrectionists involved have already been identified and arrested by the federal law enforcement authorities. One of the insurrectionists, Benjamin Scott Burlew of Miami, Oklahoma, was charged with federal offenses, including assault in special territorial jurisdiction as well as acts of violence on restricted grounds, according to a release by the DOJ.
Court filings reveal that there is video footage of Burlew physically assaulting a member of the media who works for the Associated Press.