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Thompson says some of the Jan. 6 protesters met with members of Congress

Jan. 6 committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) testifies before the House Rules Committee on Dec. 14.
Jan. 6 committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) testifies before the House Rules Committee on Dec. 14. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
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The chair of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol said Thursday that the committee has received information showing that members of Congress met with people who came to Washington to participate in protests over the planned certification of electoral votes last year.

“We have information that members hosted people who came to Washington on that day in their office,” Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) said during an interview Thursday at a Washington Post Live event. “We have pictures of members [of Congress] taking pictures with people who came to the rally. . . . There’s a smaller subset of members that have been identified who probably did more to encourage the ‘Stop the Steal’ part of coming to Washington.”

Thompson did not elaborate on the committee’s findings, including whether the panel has information that these lawmakers had any knowledge about the possibility of violence on Jan. 6. But his comments during the interview suggested an intensifying focus on the activities of members of Congress in the days and hours before the protests began.

During the broadcast conversation, Thompson reiterated his determination to seek information from members of Congress. The committee has asked for interviews with Republican Reps. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Jim Jordan of Ohio. Both men have said they do not intend to cooperate.

When Thompson was asked whether the committee would take the unusual step of issuing subpoenas for their cooperation, he said: “If we can get the necessary authorities and assurances that go with it, we’ll do it. Both those individuals are important and have been implicated into this illegal activity that occurred on January 6.”

Perry, Jordan and other Republicans have expressed disdain for the committee, suggesting it is a partisan exercise designed to embarrass Donald Trump and his supporters in advance of the midterm elections.

“I stand with immense respect for our Constitution, the Rule of Law, and the Americans I represent who know that this entity is illegitimate, and not duly constituted under the rules of the U.S. House of Representatives,” Perry said in a statement last month.

While prominent advisers to Trump — including Stephen K. Bannon and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows — have declined to cooperate with the panel, Thompson reiterated his view that the reluctant witnesses did not reflect the cooperation the committee has received overall.

“We learn every day from patriotic Americans who come forward and tell us what they know” about the events of Jan. 6, he said. “And so we now know that [Trump’s] children encouraged him to try to stop it. We know that members of Congress, senators who contacted him.”

Thompson confirmed plans to conduct televised public hearings in prime time.

“We think January 6 and what happened is so important, we need to give the greatest number of Americans an opportunity to see firsthand what we have uncovered,” he said, adding that he expected hearings to start within the next month or so and that hearings would likely be conducted on consecutive evenings.

“So, I’m talking about like Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. We’re not talking about one hearing one week, one hearing another week,” he said.