Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who serves on the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot, said she was “surprised” by federal prosecutors’ response to the testimony this week. week before the panel were given by Cassidy Hutchinson, who previously served as an aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
During an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that aired Sunday, host Chuck Todd asked Lofgren to respond to a story published last week in The New York Times reporting that federal prosecutors participating in the Department’s investigation of Justice of 6 January, felt taken aback after viewing Hutchinson’s testimony and were as surprised by her comments as those who watched it.
Several officials who spoke to the paper said prosecutors had not been provided with transcripts or videos of her previous interviews with the commission prior to her testimony. Hutchinson spoke with panelists behind closed doors four times before testifying at Tuesday’s public hearing.
“You know, I was surprised that the prosecutors were surprised. What are they doing there? They have a much greater chance of enforcing their subpoenas than our legislative commission has,” Lofgren told Todd.
When asked whether she thought it was a fair characterization that the House Panel had caught the Ministry of Justice by surprise, she said no.
“We are not part of the Ministry of Justice. We are a legislative committee. They have subpoena powers. They can sue Ms. Hutchinson. I’m surprised they hadn’t. We interviewed her four times. I think that’s common knowledge at this point. And the fourth interview was very compelling,” she added.
Lofgren’s comments come after Hutchinson gave explosive testimony at a last-minute hearing held by the panel on Tuesday.
One of the key pieces of her testimony was that both Meadows and Rudy Giuliani sought a pardon from former President Trump that Trump tried to grab the wheel of the car he was in on Jan. 6 in an attempt to reach the Capitol after learning that he couldn’t be taken there and that on January 2, Meadows told her that things could get “really, really bad” the day the riots finally happened.
Tensions have arisen between the House selection committee and the Justice Department, the latter of which has complained that the investigation has been hampered by the panel’s refusal to provide transcripts of witness hearings.