(The Hill) – Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who sits on the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, said she is “surprised” by federal prosecutors’ reactions to testimony given before the panel this week by Cassidy Hutchinson, who previously served as an aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
During an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that was aired on Sunday, host Chuck Todd asked Lofgren to react to a story published last week in The New York Times that reported federal prosecutors working on the Justice Department’s Jan. 6 investigation felt blindsided after watching Hutchinson’s testimony and were as surprised by her remarks as those watching it.
Several officials who spoke to the newspaper said that prior to her testimony, prosecutors had not been given transcripts or videos of her past interviews with the committee. Hutchinson spoke to panel investigators behind closed doors four times before testifying in Tuesday’s public hearing.
“You know, I was surprised that the prosecutors were surprised. What are they doing over there? They have a much greater opportunity to enforce their subpoenas than our legislative committee does,” Lofgren told Todd.
Asked if she thought it was a fair characterization that the House panel had blindsided the Justice Department, she said she did not think so.
“We’re not an arm of the Department of Justice. We’re a legislative committee. They have subpoena power. They could subpoena Ms. Hutchinson. I’m surprised they had not done so. We interviewed her four times. I think that’s publicly known at this point. And the fourth interview was very compelling,” she added.
Lofgren’s comments come after Hutchinson gave explosive testimony during a last-minute hearing held by the panel on Tuesday.
Among the most significant pieces of her testimony, she said that both Meadows and Rudy Giuliani sought pardons from former President Donald Trump, and that Trump tried to grab the steering wheel of the car he was in on Jan. 6, 2021, in an attempt to get to the Capitol after being informed he could not be taken there and that Meadows told her on Jan. 2, 2021, that things could “get real, real bad” on the day the riot ultimately occurred.
Tensions have arisen between the House select committee and the Justice Department, the latter of which has complained its investigation has been hampered by the panel refusing to provide transcripts of witness interviews.