Monday, February 26

Donald Trump Jr. testifies before the House January 6 committee, sources confirm

Donald Trump Jr. appeared Tuesday before the House committee investigating the January 6 attack, four sources confirmed to CBS News. 

Sources said Trump Jr. testified voluntarily and virtually. Two sources said the interview was “largely uneventful.” Another source estimated the interview lasted about three hours, said Trump Jr. did not plead the Fifth and described the interview as “very cordial.” 

Committee chair Bennie Thompson last week said that Trump Jr. was on the deposition wishlist, and that the committee was engaging with him.

Trump Jr. spoke at the rally at the Ellipse on January 6 before the attack on the Capitol began. According to the Associated Press, Trump Jr. posted videos backstage of his family and top Trump aides. At that rally, former President Donald Trump encouraged his supporters at the rally to “walk down” to the Capitol as Congress counted the electoral votes.

Trump Jr.’s fiancee, Kimberly Guilfoyle, also spoke at the Ellipse rally in support of Trump and his baseless claims of election fraud. According to Thompson, the committee has also obtained evidence that Guilfoyle touted her involvement in raising funds for that rally. Investigators also said they believe Guilfoyle communicated with others about Trump’s decisions on who would be allowed to speak at the rally. 

Trump Rally
President Donald Trumps son Donald Trump Jr. speaks to Trump supporters from the Ellipse at the White House in Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, as the Congress prepares to certify the electoral college votes. 

Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Guilfoyle has already appeared before the House January 6 committee earlier this month, nearly two months after her lawyers abruptly ended a voluntary virtual interview by committee staff over frustration with its format. The panel later issued a subpoena to Guilfoyle, compelling her testimony and records.

According to text messages obtained by CNN, Trump Jr. sent text messages to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows two days after Election Day saying “we have operational control” to ensure his father would be declared the victor in the 2020 election.

“It’s very simple,” Trump Jr. texted to Meadows on November 5, according to CNN. He added, “We have multiple paths. We control them all.”

Those texts are among the records obtained by the House January 6 committee, according to CNN.

Trump Jr. and Guilfoyle are the latest members of the Trump family to appear before the House January 6 committee. Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump met virtually with investigators in April, and her husband, Jared Kushner, spoke with the panel voluntarily in March.

But some members of Trump’s staff have refused to appear before the committee or provide documents. Four top Trump allies – Steve Bannon, Meadows, Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino – have been held in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with subpoenas, and the Justice Department has charged Bannon. All said they are following instructions from Trump, who has claimed executive privilege.  

The panel is winding down its fact-finding phase, and it is preparing to begin hearings on June 9. Thompson said last week that the committee will be holding eight hearings this summer. 

So far, the committee has issued dozens of subpoenas, including ones to Trump’s allies, former White House officials, campaign aides and individuals involved in the planning of the rally outside the White House before the Capitol building came under siege. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi created the House select committee last year to investigate the January 6 attack, when thousands of Trump supporters descended on the Capitol as Congress counted the electoral votes, a largely ceremonial final step affirming Mr. Biden’s victory. Lawmakers were sent fleeing amid the riot, which led to the deaths of five people and the arrests of hundreds more. Trump was impeached by the House one week later for inciting the riot but was later acquitted by the Senate

Zak Hudak contributed to this report.

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