By Daniella Diaz and Chandelis Duster, CNN
The House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection has been having conversations with former Attorney General William Barr, the committee’s chairman said Sunday.
“To be honest with you, we’ve had conversations with the former attorney general already,” Rep. Bennie Thompson told CBS’ Margaret Brennan on “Face the Nation” when asked if the committee would go to Barr. “We’ve talked to Department of Defense individuals. We are concerned that our military was part of this big lie on promoting that the election was false.”
The Mississippi Democrat continued, “So, if you are using the military, to potentially seize these voting machines, even though it’s a discussion, the public needs to know, we’ve never had that before.”
Thompson’s remarks came in response to a question regarding text of a draft executive order that had been presented to then-President Donald Trump in December of 2020 to have the secretary of defense seize voting machines in battleground states.
Barr, who was a staunch defender of Trump during his tenure at the Department of Justice and pushed the administration’s “law and order” message, resigned in December 2020 after rebuking the then-President’s false claims about widespread election fraud.
It is unclear who wrote the draft order, which is full of legal language asserting presidential powers to seize the election equipment and conspiracy theories about the 2020 election.
The draft, which was published by Politico last week, also said the defense secretary could identify National Guard units to be federalized to help the effort. The document also appears to be one that Trump fought to block from the January 6 select committee, which is investigating his attempts to subvert the 2020 election.
It was dated December 16, 2020, according to the document published by Politico, which is two days after the Electoral College met in state capitals to formalize President Joe Biden’s victory, dealing a huge blow to Trump’s attempts to overturn the election.
Thompson also said he wasn’t aware of an operational plan but just the draft itself.
“We do know that a potential person was identified to become the attorney general of the United States, who would communicate with certain states that the election on their situation had been fraudulent and not to produce certified documents,” he said.
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CNN’s Marshall Cohen and Zachary Cohen contributed to this report.