Ex-employee’s unauthorized book on January 6 committee members disturbs

The news that a former adviser to the committee charged with investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection is publishing a book billed as a “behind-the-scenes” look at the committee’s work came as a shock to most lawmakers and staff. committee when it was announced. Last week.

Denver Riggleman, a former Republican congressman, is set to release “The Breach” on Tuesday, just a day before the January 6 panel’s final public hearing, which has gone to extraordinary lengths to prevent unauthorized leaks, as well as to keep its secret sources and methods of investigation.

Riggleman’s book announcement came in the form of a tweet touting his upcoming Sunday appearance on “60 Minutes” as his first time speaking publicly about the book. Lawmakers and committee staff were largely unaware that the former staffer had spent months since leaving the committee writing a book about his limited staff work — or that it would be published before the conclusion of the trial. committee investigation, according to people familiar with the matter. who, like others interviewed by The Washington Post, spoke on condition of anonymity to detail the private conversations.

Senior executives have previously confronted Riggleman after rumors surfaced that he was working on a book about his work for the committee, according to a person familiar with the panel. During an exchange, Riggleman told his colleagues that he was writing a book on a topic unrelated to his committee work. In a later conversation, before his departure from the committee staff, Riggleman said he had been approached to write a book related to the committee but would not be published until the end of this year.

A guide to the biggest moments from the January 6 committee hearings

The former congressman gave his opinion in April after attending the panel for eight months, saying he was leaving to work at an unspecified non-profit organization linked to Ukraine.

Riggleman and his book agent did not respond to requests for comment.

Riggleman also publicly bragged about the committee’s work and granted interviews — an unusual move for a congressional staffer. Earlier this year, he told a crowd of “Never Trump” Republicans at the National Press Club that he would show through his committee work that the effort to overturn the election was “about the money,” and mocked several of those under investigation.

He stood outside with a series of critics of Trump and told them he had just gotten new phone records and they would be “explosive”. He refused to say what they were, but his comments thrilled those around him.

“I wish I could tell you about it,” he said of the data he was reviewing for the committee. “If I did, you’d be more shocked than you can imagine.”

“It’s all about the money,” he said. “I will tear their ecosystem apart.”

The appearances rattled others who worked with the committee, and Riggleman ultimately angered Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who initially pushed for his hire, according to people familiar with the matter.

Riggleman, who split his time between Washington and rural Virginia, where he owned a distillery, described himself as being in charge of the work of the committee analyzing the call recordings, texts and online activities of those involved in the attack on the US Capitol. But people familiar with his role note that the phone records were only a small part of the sprawling and comprehensive investigation.

“The work of the committee does not rest on the foundation of Denver’s efforts,” said a person familiar with his role.

Committee staff members were enraged by Riggleman’s cable briefing earlier this summer in which he revealed private details about the staff’s work, according to people involved in the investigation. In an email to the full committee, personnel manager David Buckley wrote that he was “deeply disappointed” in Riggleman’s decision to publicly discuss their work and that his appearance was “in violation directly from his employment contract”.

“His specific discussion of the contents of subpoenas, our contracts, contractors and methodologies, and your hard work is disconcerting,” Buckley wrote at the time.

During one of his appearances on CNN, Riggleman detailed his team’s work to link names and numbers after receiving a cache of text messages from former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. Calling the posts “a road map”, he argued that the data obtained from the posts allowed the committee to “structure the investigation”.

The Meadows text cache was obtained by CNN earlier this spring.

Macmillan Publishers’ description of his upcoming book, which Riggleman co-authored with journalist Hunter Walker, teases “unpublished texts from key political leaders,” as well as “shocking details about Trump’s White House ties to militant extremist groups”.

In an excerpt posted ahead of his interview on “60 Minutes,” Riggleman revealed that the White House switchboard connected a phone call to a Capitol rioter on Jan. 6, 2021.

“You get a real aha moment when you see the White House switchboard hooked up to a rioter’s phone while this is happening,” Riggleman told 60 Minutes. “It’s a big, pretty big moment aha.”

Riggleman also addressed claims he made in the book that he pleaded with the committee to do more to obtain specific White House phone numbers.

“I was one of those people, unfortunately, in the beginning, you know, where I was very, very aggressive about these linked connections, getting these White House phone numbers,” Riggleman said.

A committee statement highlighted Riggleman’s “limited knowledge” of the investigation and threw cold water on Riggleman’s suggestion that the committee was not seeking the evidence aggressively enough.

“He left the staff in April ahead of our hearings and much of our most important investigative work,” committee spokesman Tim Mulvey wrote. “Since his departure, the Committee has explored all avenues, digested and analyzed all the information resulting from its work. We will present further evidence to the public at our next hearing next Wednesday, and a full report will be released by the end of the year.

The committee has yet to reveal the subject of its final hearing, but is expected to reveal new information after resuming investigative efforts during the August recess. The upcoming proceedings follow eight hearings held in June and July that provided a vivid and detailed account of efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election results.

Lawmakers on the panel previously said they hoped to uncover more information about the Secret Service and Defense Department’s response to the Jan. 6 attack after the committee learned that the two agencies erased communications from the phones of former and current officials.

Investigators also questioned some of Trump’s Cabinet Secretaries – including Mike Pompeo, Steven Mnuchin, Robert O’Brien and Elaine Chao – about internal post-insurgency conversations regarding the invocation of the 25th Amendment, which provides for the impeachment of Trump. a president due to incapacity, mental disorder. health or fitness.

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