January 6 Committee Ignores Key Questions About FBI

The final set of witnesses testifying before the January 6 select committee had the potential to shed more light on the government’s foreknowledge of the protest on Capitol Hill that day. Jeffrey Rosen, appointed by Donald Trump on Christmas Eve in 2020 to replace departing Attorney General William Barr, and two of his deputies gave opening statements and fielded questions for more than two hours last week.

None of it had anything to do with the events of January 6, 2021.

Instead, Rosen—the deputy transportation secretary under Elaine Chao, wife of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), before he was promoted in May 2019 to serve as Barr’s deputy—spent his time explaining how the former president pushed the Justice Department to investigate election fraud in numerous states after it failed to do so. Rosen recounted multiple requests by Trump, including the appointment of a special counsel. 

“I will say that the Justice Department declined all of those requests that I was just referencing because we did not think they were appropriate based on the facts and the law as we understood them,” Rosen told committee members on June 23.

Most of the hearing focused on what happened the weekend before the Capitol protest; Rosen vehemently opposed signing a letter authored by Jeffery Clark, the acting assistant attorney general at the time, that urged Georgia officials to call a special session to examine evidence of voter fraud in that state. Rosen, along with his chiefs and dozens of federal prosecutors, threatened to resign if Trump replaced Rosen with Clark. (Sadly, Trump did not take up Rosen’s threat.)

But an offhand comment by Richard Donoghue, Rosen’s ex-deputy, went unnoticed and unexplored by the committee. Donoghue explained that on the afternoon of January 3, 2021, Justice Department leadership met to discuss “preparations” for January 6.

That disclosure gave committee members the ideal opening to question Rosen about the Justice Department’s activities days before the protest. Who attended that meeting? What plans were in place to protect the Capitol and lawmakers if violence erupted? What intelligence did the department, particularly the FBI, receive in advance of January 6?

Committee members asked none of those questions, of course—and the explanation is clear: Rosen, as well as current Justice Department officials, do not want the American people to know about the agency’s deep involvement in the events of January 6. 

If Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) truly meant her stated goal of exposing the “truth” about January 6, she would have asked about a January 2022 bombshell in Newsweek that revealed how Rosen summoned elite “commando” agents to Quantico that very same weekend to make plans for January 6. The article detailed how, contrary to the perception Rosen and his colleagues including FBI Director Chris Wray have successfully fostered, the Justice Department was not caught off-guard and flat-footed on January 6.

“Rosen made a unilateral decision to take the preparatory steps to deploy Justice Department and so-called ‘national’ forces,’” Newsweek reporter William Arkin wrote. “There was no formal request from the U.S. Capitol Police, the Secret Service, or the Metropolitan Police Department—in fact, no external request from any agency. The leadership in Justice and the FBI anticipated the worst and decided to act independently, the special operations forces lurking behind the scenes.”

The specialized units included the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team, a SWAT team, and agents from the U.S. Marshal’s Service and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Snipers were staged near congressional buildings and given “shoot-to-kill” authority. All of the agents were deployed downtown Washington on the morning of January 6, not in the afternoon as the chaos unfolded, a claim Rosen himself has made under oath.

According to Newsweek, “FBI tactical teams arrived on Capitol Hill early in the day to assist in the collection of evidence at sites—including the Republican and Democratic party national headquarters—where explosive devices were found.”

Ah, the long-forgotten “pipe bomb” threat! Not only has that story disappeared from media coverage, it has been completely ignored by the January 6 committee.

Nearly 18 months later, the “pipe bomb” aspect of the January 6 narrative remains one of the murkier events of the day. A hefty reward to find the bomber, who allegedly planted the explosives the night before, remains unclaimed. FBI officials immediately said the agency would conduct an investigation into what they described as “viable devices that could have been detonated, resulting in serious injury or death,” but no report has been released.

And in the oddest angle of all, Politico reported last year that Kamala Harris was inside the Democratic National Committee headquarters when the bomb was located outside the building, raising questions as to how her Secret Service detail overlooked the device during a security sweep before she arrived around 11:30 a.m. on January 6. 

Now, one would think Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), who publicly cried about the violence that happened that day, would pound the podium demanding an update into a lethal threat that could have taken the life of the incoming vice president and others nearby, or at least asked for specifics as to how Rosen’s department initially handled the devices.

But that did not happen. Readers of American Greatness know why—the pipe bomb scare looks like another FBI hoax, complete with characters tied to the agency.

Speaking of January 6 characters tied to the FBI, the committee has not addressed an issue of great interest to most Americans and some congressional Republicans: the involvement of FBI informants or undercover agents in the Capitol protest. Attorney General Merrick Garland last year refused to tell Rep. Tom Massie (R-Ky.) how many federal assets participated in the Capitol protest, if any encouraged others to enter the building, and whether any agents did. “I’m not gonna violate this norm of, uh, of, of, uh the rule of law and I’m not gonna comment on an investigation that’s ongoing,” Garland said.

Republican senators have also received the silent treatment from the FBI. Jill Sanborn, executive director of the FBI’s national security branch, stonewalled numerous inquiries by Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) as to the number of agents and informants who “actively participated” in the events of January 6. Sanborn also refused to say how many FBI assets may have “incited crimes of violence” that day.

The presence of federal infiltrators is not speculation. The New York Times reported in September that at least two informants infiltrated the Proud Boys and helped breach the Capitol perimeter on January 6. Defense attorneys have disclosed the presence of undercover FBI agents in the vicinity of their clients during the protest; further, dozens of agitators, including Ray Epps, inexplicably have not been charged for their clear role in stoking the chaos that day.

And one only has to look as far as the FBI-concocted hoax to “kidnap” Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in 2020 to understand just how far the agency will go to damage Republicans, especially Donald Trump. (Sanborn was a top official at the FBI’s counterrorism division at the same time the Whitmer “kidnapping” plot was devised.)

It’s unclear whether the committee has even bothered to interview Christopher Wray. Documenting Wray’s knowledge and actions related to January 6 would seem an essential part of the committee’s official record; selectively ignoring his role, and that of his agency on January 6, points to a cover-up.

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