House Republicans may soon have the opportunity to review unredacted transcripts of witness testimonies from the Jan. 6 committee, as the White House has extended an offer to grant access to these previously unseen documents, which the Republican Party has been eager to examine for several months.
This development follows a period of intense negotiations between the administration and Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) who, since the Republicans gained a narrow House majority last year, is leading the House Administration subcommittee’s investigation into the Democratic-led Jan. 6 committee’s activities.
The White House’s offer, detailed in a letter from White House special counsel Richard Sauber to Rep. Loudermilk, comes with specific conditions.
Sauber’s letter stipulates that the unredacted transcripts will be made available for in-camera review, provided Loudermilk agrees in writing to certain commitments. These include maintaining the anonymity of four witnesses and preventing the disclosure of operational details and private information, as agreed upon by the Jan. 6 select committee on a bipartisan basis.
“We will make the unredacted transcripts available to you for review in camera, provided that you agree in writing to abide by the commitments made on a bipartisan basis by the Select Committee — to maintain the anonymity of the four witnesses consistent with the conditions under which the witnesses agreed to appear before the Select Committee, and to prevent the disclosure of ‘operational details and private information,'” Sauber wrote.
The Jan. 6 select committee, after its extensive investigation into the Capitol riot, released most of its findings to the public online. However, it withheld certain transcripts from interviews with select White House aides and Secret Service officials. These documents were instead sent to the White House and the Department of Homeland Security.
The decision to withhold these documents was part of an agreement between the Jan. 6 committee and the witnesses, made in exchange for their testimony. The committee justified this agreement by citing the witnesses’ national security responsibilities and security protocols around the White House.
The committee has had access to redacted portions of these interviews, which the White House has now offered to Loudermilk. However, Republicans have consistently accused the Jan. 6 committee of redacting crucial information that could potentially contradict some of the panel’s findings. This accusation intensified last week when Loudermilk threatened to subpoena not only the documents but also the Jan. 6 witnesses themselves.
Loudermilk has also accused Rep. Bennie Thompson, former chair of the now-dissolved Jan. 6 committee, of improper archiving of committee data. He alleged that some items were deleted, encrypted or went missing. These accusations led to a strong response from Thompson, who criticized Loudermilk’s actions.
Thompson accused Loudermilk of attempts to keep driving the conspiracy theories with “your subcommittee’s misrepresentations and continued fishing expeditions, all in the service of your and Donald Trump‘s political interests,” Thompson accused.
If Loudermilk accepts Sauber’s offer, it would allow House Republicans access to testimony and evidence previously unreported to them and the public. Loudermilk has not yet publicly responded to the offer.
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