Capitol Riot Probe Panel Asks Media Firms to Preserve Records

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The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol has asked AT&T Inc., Verizon Wireless and 33 other communications companies to preserve the records of individuals connected to the insurrection and former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

The committee released copies of the nearly identical letters but did not make public the individuals whose records they are seeking. The request spans the months leading up to the riot and through its aftermath.

“The Select Committee is at this point gathering facts, not alleging wrongdoing by any individual,” said Timothy Mulvey, a committee spokesman.

The committee wants the companies to preserve information related not only to those charged in the attacks but also individuals “listed on permit applications or were otherwise involved in organizing, funding, or speaking at the Jan. 5, 2021, or Jan. 6, 2021, rallies in the District of Columbia relating to objecting to the certification of the electoral college votes; and individuals potentially involved with discussions of plans to challenge, delay, or interfere with the January 6, 2021, certification or otherwise attempt to overturn election results, in the days preceding and up through the attack,” the letters from Mississippi Democrat Bennie Thompson, the committee’s chairman, say.

Thompson has previously said that some members of Congress would be among the people whose phone, text and other communications records being sought.

The requested material is part of a wide net for information sought by the committee on how a rally organized to support Trump’s false claims about the 2020 presidential election resulted in a mob storming the Capitol.

Last week, the committee asked Facebook, Twitter, Alphabet Inc.’s Google and a dozen other companies and social platforms to turn over records of postings, videos and other material promoting the overturn of the 2020 election or events leading up to the deadly insurrection.

Google, Facebook, Reddit and Snap said they would cooperate with the committee. Twitter declined to comment. Other companies didn’t immediately respond.

The panel, made up of seven Democrats and two Republicans, also is seeking records from the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and intelligence agencies to determine what they knew about the potential for violence on Jan. 6 and whether they adequately shared and acted on the information. 

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