News Roundup: Two Years After the Jan. 6 Attack

With the new year, the House select committee investigating the attack of Jan. 6, 2021 — which took place two years ago today — has wrapped up its work.

Over the last two weeks, the committee released a trove of interview transcripts, communications, and other documents that, as the New York Times wrote, “touched on nearly every aspect of Mr. Trump’s push to overturn the 2020 election” and “provided new details about how some of his top allies lobbied for aggressive plans to keep him in power.” Here are just some of the revelations from recent weeks:

  • White House call logs show several contacts with top Justice Department officials on Jan. 3, as Trump sought to install loyalist Jeffrey Clark as acting attorney general. We previously obtained text messages sent that same day by DOJ officials who threatened to resign if Trump carried out the plan. “Justice is our client,” said one top official.
  • Ginni Thomas, a conservative activist and wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, told the committee that she thought “there’s still a lot of things that are still being uncovered,” but admitted she didn’t have any “specific evidence.”
  • Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said he first spoke with Trump about the election in August 2021, after Vos launched the partisan — and pricey — election inquiry headed by conservative lawyer Michael Gableman. As the Washington Post noted, “Trump’s approach was far different in Georgia, Arizona and Michigan, where he pressed Republican officials to try to reverse the results in the weeks after the election.”
  • Testimony also highlighted the confusion over the deployment of National Guard units to the Capitol, including a disagreement about when the Pentagon finally approved the deployment. (See our timeline for a minute-by-minute account of that day, based on key documents and communications.)

The fake electors scheme remained a central pillar of Trump’s effort to overturn his loss, and the committee released transcripts of several key allies who were involved in the plot.

  • According to the former chair of the Wisconsin Republican Party, Sen. Ron Johnson called him in December 2020 advocating for the state’s Republican lawmakers to choose the state’s presidential electors, instead of voters.
  • Texts from that same month show Sen. Mike Lee asked Trump campaign lawyer Cleta Mitchell if there were “any chance we will see competing slates of electors named” by state legislatures, but later expressed reservations about the fake electors plan for Jan. 6, calling it a “dangerous idea.”
  • During her testimony, Mitchell expressed support for the radical independent state legislature theory, which says that state lawmakers have the final say on administering federal elections — and in Mitchell’s view, even choosing electors. Read about our investigation into support for that fringe legal theory here, and into Mitchell’s nomination to the federal Election Assistance Commission’s advisory board here.

On the Records

The Atlantic’s Family Separation Archive
The Atlantic published an archive of internal government documents — including records obtained by American Oversight — related to the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance initiative, the policy that formalized the separation of children from families. 

  • The collection provides examples of the government’s disorganized record-keeping and attempts to hide the policy’s impacts from the public, and includes documents we featured in our own extensive timeline of records related to family separation. 
  • We recently wrote about records from the Trump administration Department of Homeland Security that provide further evidence of problems with detention capacity and failures to properly track children separated from their families. 
  • We also obtained records last month that contain complaints and allegations of abuse filed against Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Border Patrol officers.

Florida’s Migrant Transportation Flights
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ public safety adviser, Larry Keefe, used a private email address to help his former legal client, Vertol Systems Company, obtain a contract to run the state’s Sept. 14 flights relocating migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard. 

  • American Oversight has previously obtained text messages between Keefe and the company’s CEO, James Montgomerie. A few days before the flights, Montgomerie texted Keefe about potential plans to send as many as 50 migrants to Delaware and expressed optimism about efforts to recruit more migrants to send on the trips, writing, “The network has grown exponentially!”
  • We’ve obtained communications between other key figures behind the controversial migrant transportation efforts as well as contract documents and terms of agreement between the Florida Department of Transportation and Vertol Systems.

Other Stories We’re Following

Jan. 6 Investigations
  • Biden to mark Jan. 6 anniversary by warning the Big Lie remains (Politico)
  • Corporations gave $10M to election objectors after pledging to cut them off (Politico)
  • Enablers, line-straddlers and quiet resisters: How GOP lawmakers contributed to Jan. 6 (Politico)
  • Jan. 6 committee warns White House it can’t ensure identity of anonymous witnesses will remain protected (CNN)
  • Ex-Capitol police chief faults intelligence officials and military in Jan. 6 attack (New York Times)
  • Jan. 6 committee docs: Former Michigan GOP chair slams 2020 fake elector plan as ‘insane’ (Michigan Advance)
  • Biden to honor 12 people with Presidential Citizens Medal on two-year anniversary of January 6 insurrection (CNN)
  • Trump fixation on Wisconsin, Ginni Thomas text regrets and more from the Jan. 6 panel (Ohio Capital Journal)
Election Denial and Voting Rights
  • Kari Lake trial witness Heather Honey has Pennsylvania election denial past (Philadelphia Inquirer)
  • Republican drops out of key Senate race in effort to block election denier Brandtjen (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
  • Conservative Supreme Court candidates push for more legislative investigations, election lawsuits (Wisconsin Examiner)
  • Third case brought by DeSantis’ election police dismissed (Associated Press)
  • New year expected to bring more changes to state voting laws (Associated Press)
  • Assistant attorney general who launched dubious Arizona election probe ousted (Arizona Republic)
The Coronavirus
  • New Covid strain is the most transmissible yet, WHO says (Politico)
  • Local health departments working to restore trust as they fight vaccine misinformation (NBC News)
  • How fraud increases Medicare spending on Covid-19 testing (ProPublica)
National News
  • Trump’s tax returns released, launching fresh scrutiny of his finances (Politico)
  • Abortion pills can now be offered at retail pharmacies, FDA says (New York Times)
  • Some major pharmacies are planning to dispense abortion pills, but not in every state (CNN)
  • Justice Department clears Postal Service to carry abortion drugs into red states (Politico
  • McCarthy proposes gutting ethics watchdog in bid for speaker (Time)
  • Strife in the schools: Education Dept. logs record number of discrimination complaints (New York Times)
  • Biden administration defends student loan cancellation at Supreme Court (New York Times
  • Biden plans to visit U.S.-Mexico border (Wall Street Journal)
  • U.S. to expand Title 42 border expulsions while opening legal path for some migrants (CBS News)
In the States
  • Muzzled by DeSantis, critical race theory professors cancel courses or modify their teaching (ProPublica)
  • Fla. surgeon general used ‘flawed’ vaccine science, faculty peers say (Washington Post)

Related Blog Posts

December 23, 2022

Jan. 6 Committee Final Report and American Oversight Investigations

October 21, 2022

News Roundup: Election Deniers Gear Up for Midterms

August 2, 2022

American Oversight Sues Election Assistance Commission for Communications with Election Deniers, Voting-Restriction Advocates

U.S. Election Assistance Commission
July 20, 2022

American Oversight Obtains Additional Records of Top DOJ Officials’ Communications on Jan. 6

Department of Justice
June 3, 2022

News Roundup: The Coordinated Effort to Contest the Next Election

Department of Labor, DOL - Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission
January 14, 2022

News Roundup: A Coordinated Coup Attempt

Department of State
January 6, 2022

News Roundup: Fighting for Our Democracy — and Winning

January 6, 2022

Investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol Attack: One Year Later

Department of Commerce, Department of Justice, DHS - United States Secret Service, DOD - National Guard Bureau
December 23, 2021

News Roundup: What We’ve Learned This Year

December 17, 2021

News Roundup: Presidential Coups and Election Reviews

Securities and Exchange Commission
November 17, 2021

Records from Navy and Coast Guard Offer New Details on How Military Investigated Incidents of White Supremacy Among Members

Department of Defense, DHS - United States Coast Guard, DOD - Iowa National Guard
November 11, 2021

News Roundup: January 6, Wisconsin’s Partisan Election Review, and Transparency in Georgia

Department of Defense, DOD - National Guard Bureau, Texas, Texas Office of the Governor
November 4, 2021

News Roundup: The Before, During — and After — of the Jan. 6 Attack

November 2, 2021

Documents Obtained by American Oversight Cited in Washington Post’s Detailed Investigation of Jan. 6 Attack

Department of Homeland Security, DHS - United States Secret Service
October 29, 2021

News Roundup: Jan. 6, the Big Lie, and Cyber Ninjas’ Refusal to Comply with Court Order

August 26, 2021

American Oversight Sues Defense Department for Top Officials’ Calendars and Communications, Including Related to Jan. 6 Attack

Department of Defense
July 29, 2021

News Roundup: The Resurgent Pandemic and Partisan Election Reviews

Department of Justice, DOJ - Office of Information Policy
April 13, 2021

The U.S. Military’s Pattern of Failing to Confront White Supremacy Within Its Ranks

Department of Defense, DHS - United States Coast Guard, DOD - Department of the Air Force, DOD - Department of the Army, DOD - U.S. Department of the Navy, DOD - U.S. Marine Corps
March 10, 2021

American Oversight Sues for Records About Trump’s Actions During Jan. 6 Attack

Department of Defense, Department of Justice, DOD - Department of the Army, DOD - National Guard Bureau
March 9, 2021

American Oversight Sues for Top Officials’ Communications from Day of Capitol Riot

Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, DHS - United States Secret Service, DOD - Department of the Army, DOD - National Guard Bureau, DOJ - Office of Legal Counsel
February 25, 2021

News Roundup: Capitol Attack Intelligence Failures and the National Voter-Suppression Frenzy

February 23, 2021

Investigations Update: Texas Energy Crisis, Covid-19 in Poultry Plants, and New Legislation in Missouri

Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, Department of Health and Human Services, DOD - Department of the Army, HHS - Food and Drug Administration, Missouri House of Representatives, Missouri Senate, Texas, Texas Office of the Governor
February 23, 2021

Questions About Jan. 6 Capitol Attack Remain as Senate Investigates

Department of Homeland Security
February 5, 2021

News Roundup: New Voting-Restriction Bills and the Upcoming Round of Redistricting

Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Justice, Georgia Department of Community Health, HHS - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Iowa Department of Public Health
February 2, 2021

Investigations Update: The Efforts by Trump — and Top Officials — to Overturn the Election

Department of Justice, Department of State, DOJ - Civil Division, DOJ - Civil Rights Division, Maryland Department of Legislative Services, Missouri House of Representatives, Oklahoma Attorney General, Texas, Texas Attorney General, West Virginia Attorney General
January 26, 2021

Investigations Update: State and Local Officials Involved in Capitol Attack

Arizona Attorney General, Arizona House of Representatives, California - City of Whittier, California - Orange County, Commerce - Census Bureau, Commerce - International Trade Administration, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of Justice, Department of Transportation, Department of Veterans Affairs, DOD - Defense Intelligence Agency, DOD - Department of the Air Force, DOD - National Security Agency, DOD - U.S. Department of the Navy, DOE - Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, DOJ - Civil Division, DOJ - Civil Rights Division, DOJ - Criminal Division, DOJ - National Security Division, Federal Election Commission, Florida, Florida Attorney General, Georgia, Georgia Office of the Governor, Kentucky Attorney General, Michigan House of Representatives, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Ohio - Franklin County, Ohio Department of Education, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Senate, Securities and Exchange Commission, South Carolina Attorney General, Texas, Texas Attorney General, U.S. Agency for International Development
January 19, 2021

Investigations Update: West Virginia Lawmaker’s Involvement in Capitol Attack and Trump’s Attempts to Overturn Georgia Election Results

Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Department of the Interior, Department of Veterans Affairs, DHS - Immigration and Customs Enforcement, DHS - Office of Intelligence and Analysis, District of Columbia, District of Columbia Mayor's Office, District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department, DOD - National Guard Bureau, DOD - National Security Agency, DOD - U.S. Department of the Navy, DOI - National Park Service, DOJ - Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, Florida Office of the Governor, Georgia Secretary of State, Office of Personnel Management, VA - Veterans Health Administration, White House - Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
January 14, 2021

News Roundup: Heightened Security, Unanswered Questions, and a Twice-Impeached President

January 7, 2021

News Roundup: A Dark Day

Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Justice, Department of State, White House
January 7, 2021

American Oversight Statement on Trump-Incited Mob Attack on Capitol

July 13, 2020

Administration’s Lifting of Ban on Silencer Sales Shines Light on Trump Adviser Who Used to Work for Gun Lobby

White House - Office of Management and Budget
May 8, 2020

News Roundup: Who Will Watch the Inspectors General?

Department of Defense, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Department of State, Department of the Treasury, DHS - Immigration and Customs Enforcement, DHS - United States Coast Guard, DOD - Department of the Air Force, DOD - Department of the Army, DOD - U.S. Department of the Navy, DOD - U.S. Marine Corps, DOJ - Civil Division, DOJ - Criminal Division, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Election Commission, Georgia - Troup County, Georgia Attorney General, Georgia Department of Administrative Services, Georgia Secretary of State, HHS - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Treasury - Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Agency for International Development, White House - Office of Management and Budget
April 3, 2020

News Roundup: Whose Stockpile, and Which States?

California Office of the Governor, Central Intelligence Agency, Commerce - Bureau of Industry and Security, Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Education, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Justice, Department of Labor, Department of State, Department of the Treasury, DHS - Federal Emergency Management Agency, Florida - Broward County, Florida - Duval County, Florida - Gadsden County, Florida - Hendry County, Florida - Jackson County, Florida - Leon County, Florida - Miami-Dade County, Florida - Osceola County, Florida Office of the Governor, HHS - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HHS - Centers For Medicare and Medicaid Services, HHS - Food and Drug Administration, HHS - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, New York Office of the Governor, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Ohio Office of the Governor, Oklahoma Department of Health, Oklahoma Office of the Governor, Texas Attorney General, Texas Office of the Governor, Washington - King County, Washington Office of the Governor, White House - Office of Management and Budget
August 9, 2019

News Roundup: Investigating the Administration’s Response to Domestic Terrorism

Department of Homeland Security, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Justice, Department of State, Department of the Interior, DHS - Immigration and Customs Enforcement, DHS - U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, DHS - U.S. Customs and Border Protection, DOJ - Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Housing Finance Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, White House - Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
August 8, 2019

New Lawsuit in Investigation of Trump Administration’s Cuts to Funding for Combating Domestic Terrorism

Department of Homeland Security
Show all related posts