Jan 5, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Mike Pence’s team helping Jan. 6 committee

Illustration of a hand holding a tiny magnifying glass.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

People in and around former Vice President Mike Pence's office have been particularly cooperative as the Jan. 6 select committee focuses on what former President Trump was doing during the more than three hours the Capitol was under attack, sources familiar with the testimony tell Axios.

Why it matters: At the one-year mark of the insurrection, the committee is piecing together a definitive timeline of how Trump resisted pleas from his own advisers, allies, family members and lawmakers to halt the violence down Pennsylvania Avenue.

  • The committee is ramping up its closed-door work with the goal of holding public hearings as early as this spring.

Some Pence-world witnesses have testified without a subpoena, according to one source with direct knowledge of the closed-door hearings.

  • Both Pence's former chief of staff Marc Short, and former press secretary Alyssa Farah, who later served as White House communications director, are among those cooperating with the committee.
  • Keith Kellogg also has given a deposition.
  • One source familiar with their involvement said Short, who was subpoenaed by the committee, would not have cooperated without the approval of Pence.

What we're hearing: Some of the most helpful information has come from second- and third-tier administration staff who were not directly involved but were at the White House on Jan. 6 and had access to top administration officials, sources tell Axios.

  • They’ve been integral to helping piece together exactly what happened that day, one committee aide said.
  • Many of those officials met solely with the committee's Republican members, Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), two sources with direct knowledge said.
  • Some also have testified together with their former colleagues.

What they're saying: Farah, who spoke with the committee on several occasions last year, told Axios:

  • "From the two I was in, you could see how much information they already had.
  • "Those who are refusing to cooperate likely are doing so out of complete fealty to Donald Trump and not wanting to piss him off.
  • "But, secondarily, because they're realizing the committee has quite a bit more information than they realized. And their involvement is known to a much greater degree than they realized."

The committee wants to tell the full story of Trump's actions, interactions and refusals to act during a 187-minute timeframe between calling his allies to march to the Capitol and telling them to go home. The period was uniquely documented by The Washington Post.

  • It's also investigating the "procedural coup," as a second committee source put it, that began on Election Night 2020 to sow falsities about the integrity of the election results.
  • A concurrent focus is the players who helped plan Trump's "Save America" rally on the National Mall and any direct involvement from Trump officials in the insurrection itself.

Between the lines: The committee sees the open hearings as a pivotal moment in their investigation and a massive opportunity to sway public opinion.

What's next: The committee also met privately on Wednesday night with Stephanie Grisham, who was then-first lady Melania Trump's chief of staff and previously White House press secretary.

Editor's note: This story was corrected to reflect that Keith Kellogg was not in the Capitol the day of the insurrection and updated to clarify Marc Short had received a subpoena.

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