Speaker Nancy Pelosi named Rep. Bennie Thompson chairman of a newly created House committee to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. Credit: CQ Roll Call via AP Images

Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, said in a national Sunday morning interview his committee was open to subpoenaing former President Donald Trump “if the evidence” leads them there.

“Let me say that nobody’s off limits,” Thompson said when asked on CBS’ “Face the Nation” if his committee would subpoena the former president. “We will be, on an ongoing basis, issuing subpoenas to various individuals around the country. If we have enough evidence — and obviously we are pursuing evidence — but if the evidence leads to former President Trump or anyone else, the committee is not resonant in pushing back on it. We will go forward with it. 

“So, you know, it’s an investigation,” Thompson continued. “We’re not trying to get ahead of the investigation. We’ll follow the facts and circumstances as they present themselves.”

Thompson was appointed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi on July 1 to lead the committee, which is compromised of seven Democrats and two Republicans.

The House committee has subpoenaed several people close to former President Donald Trump, including his former chief of staff Mark Meadows and communications director Dan Scavino. The committee also subpoenaed organizers of the “Stop the Steal” rally, which was the catalyst of the Capitol riot.

Steve Bannon, an adviser to Trump, was held in criminal contempt by the House last week after he defied a subpoena to appear before the committee and turn over documents. All but nine Republican House members voted against the contempt charge. Mississippi’s three other congressmen — Reps. Trent Kelly, Michael Guest and Steven Palazzo, all Republicans — voted against holding Bannon in contempt.

Prosecutors at the U.S. Department of Justice will now decide whether to pursue criminal charges against Bannon.

READ MORE: With insurrection investigation underway, the nation’s eyes turn toward Bennie Thompson

In the interview on Sunday, Thompson also talked in length for the first time publicly about the committee’s focus on Facebook and other social media companies. He said the committee is “working with” Facebook to obtain requested information and that it is examining the financing that went into the Capitol riot.

The House committee sent Facebook and 14 other social media companies letters in August asking them to provide records related to the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol. Thompson on Sunday said that “it’s clear” rioters used Facebook and other social media sites as an “organizing tool.”

“At this point, Facebook is working with us to provide the necessary information we requested,” Thompson said in the Sunday morning interview. “… If it’s consistent with some of the things that we’re hearing coming from other areas, then obviously it’s a problem. But at this point, we are not ready to make a decision one way or the other on Facebook’s role.”

Among the Facebook documents the House committee requested

  • All Facebook internal communications, studies, reports and data analyses related to the riots.
  • Documentation about the spread of misinformation and efforts to reverse the outcome of the 2020 presidential election and foreign influence in the election.
  • Documentation of “domestic violent extremists, including racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists, militia violent extremists, sovereign citizen violent extremists, QAnon, or other extremists associated with efforts to overturn the 2020 election.”

Thompson also said his committee is investigating the financing of the Capitol riot.

“It’s just interesting to note that a lot of people came to Washington by bus, by plane, by chartered vehicles. They stayed in hotels, motels, all of that. Somebody had to pay for it,” Thompson said on Sunday morning. “And we want to look at whether or not they’re paying for that participation was legal and whether or not it contributed to what occurred on Jan. 6.”

Jan. 6 investigation: Full opening statement from Congressman Bennie Thompson


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Adam Ganucheau, as Mississippi Today's editor-in-chief, oversees the newsroom and works with the editorial team to fulfill our mission of producing high-quality journalism in the public interest. Adam has covered politics and state government for Mississippi Today since February 2016. A native of Hazlehurst, Adam has worked as a staff reporter for AL.com, The Birmingham News and The Clarion-Ledger and his work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Adam earned his bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Mississippi.