Members of Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol Remarks at Media Availability
Washington, D.C. – Members of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol held a media availability following a meeting in the Speaker’s office. Below is a full transcript:
Chairman Thompson. Thank all of you for coming. I have a statement to read to the press for the Select Committee.
The Select Committee is determined to assemble a comprehensive and authoritative report on events constituting the January 6th Insurrection, the relevant causes of the Insurrection and policy recommendations necessary to prevent any reoccurrence of this nightmare in the future. Although we eagerly await the arrival of our five other colleagues, many of us hope to begin the process with a hearing in which Capital Police Officers themselves could be able to testify about their experiences.
So, we've just had an initial meeting of those Members who you see assembled here, and we’re about to begin initiating – formulating the Committee, and we look forward to doing the work that we've been tasked with by House Resolution 503.
Q: Have you scheduled that hearing that you just mentioned?
Chairman Thompson. We have not, but we do know that it will be our first hearing. It makes a positive statement to the men and women who put their lives on the line for not just Members of Congress, but the staff who work here, as well as this citadel of democracy, working every day with Members of Congress.
Q: Congresswoman Cheney, are you concerned about getting reprimanded by the Conference, potentially losing committee assignments over this?
Congresswoman Cheney. Listen, I think it's, it's clear to all of the people on this Committee that our oath to the Constitution, our duty, our dedication to the rule of law and the peaceful transfer of power, has to come above any concern about partisanship or about politics. And I think that's, that's crucially important.
I'm honored to be on this Committee. We have an obligation to have a thorough, sober investigation of what happened leading up to January 6th and the attack on the Capitol on that day. So, I'm honored to be chosen.
Q: Do you think you’ll be removed from the assignments?
Congresswoman Cheney. I have not been, but again, my oath, my duty – all of our oaths and our duties – is to the Constitution. And that will always be above politics.
Q: – multiple Committee Chairs are investigating different pieces of this, a lead impeachment manager who investigated a big part of this. Is there something you collectively believe is the biggest missing piece of the puzzle on what happened that day?
Chairman Thompson. For one of the Chairpersons to respond?
Chairman Schiff. Our goal, as a stable interface, is to create a comprehensive report and a set of recommendations going forward how to protect the country. We view the 9/11 Commission Report as the gold standard. And each of the committees – the Speaker has made clear she wants them to continue pursuing the work they're doing. But there needs to be one Committee whose focus is solely on this matter, and compiling a comprehensive and authoritative report. So, those other investigations will go on.
There's still a tremendous amount that we don't know about what led up to the insurrection. Why we were so ill-prepared for it? What we need to do to protect ourselves going forward, and that’s what we’ll be looking at with the [Committee].
Q: Has Leader McCarthy indicated whether he is actually going to be appointing Members to join you on this Committee?
Chairman Thompson. Well, it's our hope that he does. I have no reason to believe that he won't, but time will tell.
Q: Did you talk about calling on former President Trump or have a hearing on President Trump?
Chairman Thompson. Well, we’re not going to discuss who we would talk to. We have to assemble a group, we have to pick a staff, and we’ll leave it on that note.
Q: Chairman Thompson, do you believe that Members who would not vote to certify the election results should serve on this Committee?
Chairman Thompson. Well, it's the Minority Leader’s recommendation to the Speaker, and it's for their decision after that.
Q: Chairman, how exactly can the Committee differentiate itself from the Senate Committee that actually investigated this, the attack on January 6th. What exactly will be different?
Chairman Thompson. Well, this is the House of Representatives. And we've – take our work seriously. There are some unanswered questions that still remain here. That’s what we plan to look at.
Q: What specific topics can you talk about?
Chairman Thompson. Well, we’ll look at what systems failed on January 6th, what might we recommend that we fix based on those failures.
Q: Will you have –
Chairman Thompson. It's clear that lives were at risk. It's clear that we deserve better, not just as Members of Congress, but as the public. January 6th was a devastating black eye on our democracy. And we have to make sure that it never happens again.
Q: You don’t think that Senate actually looked at those failures at all?
Chairman Thompson. Well, that's the Senate. You know, I respect that men and women in the House, and I’m comfortable that we’ll come back with a product that we all can live with.
Q: Will you have the ability to call Members of Congress who might have eyewitness accounts of things, whether the call with President Trump, or Greg Pence who was at his brother’s side the entire day? How will that work?
Chairman Thompson. Well, we have not set all parameters on the Committee at this point. Hopefully, we can get the Select Committee fully composed. We'll look at the staff in the Committee. And we'll take some of the leadership of the professional investigators and other staffers that that we employ.
Q: Congressman Cheney is the only Republican right now on this Committee. By extension to that question, do you think President Trump should testify? Do you think Mr. McCarthy should testify about what he knows?
Congresswoman Cheney. I think that the Committee will decide the parameters of the investigation. And what I know is that it'll be thorough. It will be professional. It will be serious, and not – not partisan. I think this is something where we all have to come together to defend the democracy.
Chairman Thompson. Thank you very much.