Trump Attorney General Bill Barr in talks to cooperate with Jan. 6 committee, source says

Former Trump administration Attorney General Bill Barr is in talks to cooperate with the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, according to an individual close to Barr. 

Committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson told “Face the Nation” in January that the select committee “had conversations with the former attorney general already,” and an individual close to the Barr confirmed the panel contacted him for what was described as an informal conversation to see whether he had information related to the Capitol attack or the actions of former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark.

When asked about a draft executive order obtained by Politico that was given to former President Donald Trump directing the Defense Department to seize voting machines after he lost the 2020 election, Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi, said, “we’ve had conversations with the former attorney general already. We have talked to Department of Defense individuals.”

At that time, Barr said he did not have any visibility into the events of January or Clarke’s work and did not feel he had much information that could be useful to the select committee. Barr resigned from his post as attorney general in December 2020 and ended his tenure at the department on December 23.

Attorney General Barr Testifies Before House Judiciary Committee U.S. Attorney General William Barr is sworn in before testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill on July 28, 2020 in Washington, DC. 

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Clark, a key figure in raising doubts about the integrity of the election with Trump, attempted to use Justice Department resources to delay certification of the 2020 election results, according to a report from the Senate Judiciary Committee. Clark was in contact with Mr. Trump in the days leading up to January 6, according to the Senate Judiciary committee’s report. 

The select committee issued a subpoena for his testimony in October. The committee had moved to hold Clark in contempt late last year when he failed to appear but granted him a reprieve after he indicated he would appear for a deposition and invoke the Fifth Amendment. 

While Barr was considered a defender of Trump while he led the Justice Department, their relationship soured in the wake of the 2020 presidential election after Barr told the Associated Press that federal investigators had not found evidence of widespread voter fraud, as Trump claimed.

A source familiar with the situation confirmed to CBS News in October that former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen sat for an interview with the committee. It lasted around 8 hours.

The committee is winding down its investigations ahead of planned public hearings, set to start on June 9. Thompson said earlier this week that he didn’t expect the committee would call Trump as a witness.

Thompson said earlier this week the first hearing will “more or less” show what the committee has learned over the past year. 

The House select committee was created last year by Speaker Nancy Pelosi 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, who encouraged his supporters to “walk down” to the Capitol during the rally at the Ellipse before the electoral vote count, was impeached by the House one week later for inciting the riot but was later acquitted by the Senate

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. Two top Trump allies, Steve Bannon and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, have been held in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with subpoenas, and the Justice Department has charged Bannon. Both said they are following instructions from Trump, who has claimed executive privilege.  

Rebecca Kaplan, Zak Hudak and Ellis Kim contributed to this report.

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