Thompson indicates that he will investigate Trump, members of Congress, even depose and subpoena them.
Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-MS02) announced today that he is leaving the lawsuit he filed, in partnership with the NAACP, against former-President Donald Trump regarding the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot in light of his selection as Chairman of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Select Committee to Investigate the incident further.
In a statement, Thompson said he wanted to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.
“In an effort to avoid even the appearance of a conflict, I have dismissed my claim in the lawsuit that I brought to address the events of January 6, 2021. And, I will refrain from sharing information that I acquire as Chair of the Select Committee that is not already available to the public or to members of Congress,” said Congressman Thompson.
Thompson filed the federal lawsuit in February of this year, accusing former President Trump of inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and of conspiring with his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and extremist groups such the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers to attempt to prevent Congress from certifying the results of the presidential election.
The lawsuit by Thompson sought unspecified punitive and compensatory damages. It was being brought forward using a provision of the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act which was passed in response to KKK violence and prohibits violence or intimidation meant to prevent Congress or other federal officials from carrying out their constitutional duties.
Congressman Thompson was named as Chairman of Pelosi’ select committee to investigate January 6 in June. Speaker Pelosi was given the authority to appoint the 13 members of the committee. However, five of those picks were to be made in consultation with Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
However, today, Pelosi rejected two of the five names McCarthy submitted to serve on the committee – Congressmen Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jim Banks of Indiana. As a result, McCarthy is pulling all of the Republican members from the committee.
“Speaker Nancy Pelosi has taken the unprecedented step of denying the minority party’s picks for the Select Committee on January 6. This represents an egregious abuse of power and will irreparably damage this institution. Denying the voices of members who have served in the military and law enforcement, as well as leaders of standing committees, has made it undeniable that this panel has lost all legitimacy and credibility and shows the Speaker is more interested in playing politics than seeking the truth,” Republican Leader McCarthy said in a statement on Wednesday. “Unless Speaker Pelosi reverses course and seats all five Republican nominees, Republicans will not be party to their sham process and will instead pursue our own investigation of the facts.”
Speaker Pelosi did name one Republican to her group of appointees – Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney.
In an interview with the Guardian released today, Thompson said he is prepared to investigate Trump and depose members of Congress and former senior Trump administration officials as the committee goes about their work.
“Absolutely,” Thompson told the Guardian regarding his intent to pursue a wide-ranging inquiry against the former President and some of his most prominent allies on Capitol Hill. “Nothing is off limits.”
As noted in the article, Thompson indicated that Trump and McCarthy are “among the top witnesses for his investigation, in large part because McCarthy was on the phone with the former president as the riot unfolded.”
Thompson added that he is prepared to issue subpoenas and launch lawsuits to enforce his congressional oversight authority.