Rep. Zoe Lofgren on what to expect in this week’s Jan. 6 hearing

The House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol will hold at least one more public hearing this week before concluding its work. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a member of that committee, joins Geoff Bennett to discuss.

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  • Geoff Bennett:

    The House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol will hold at least one more public hearing this week before concluding its work. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren is a member of that committee and joins us now to talk more about that. And her house passed bipartisan bill that aims to overhaul the process for certifying presidential elections.

    Congresswoman Lofgren, thanks so much for being with us.

  • Rep. Zoe Lofgren, California (D):

    You bet.

  • Geoff Bennett:

    So the January 6 Committee, as we mentioned, is holding another public hearing this Wednesday, the first in more than two months. How much new information are we going to see? And what will the focus of Wednesday's hearing be?

  • Zoe Lofgren:

    Well, we have found some new information. We've been working throughout the summer. And although the public hearings are important in terms of informing the public, they're far from all of what we've been doing, honestly, gathering information and also considering recommendations that we might make to have the country be safer.

  • Geoff Bennett:

    I want to ask you about something Congresswoman Liz Cheney, your colleagues said publicly yesterday, she said that the January 6 Committee has obtained some 800,000 U.S. Secret Service communications from on or around January 6. She says that some of the texts are gone. But there are some other forms of communication now in the committee's possession. What more can you tell us about that? And what do you see as the significance of those documents?

  • Zoe Lofgren:

    Well, I think it gives us some insight into what Secret Service knew what they communicated to other law enforcement agencies, most particularly the Capitol police who are charged with securing the safety of the Capitol. Certainly what the President's intentions were in on the sixth. There's a whole variety, you know, this is right, some of the text messages as we know were erased, even though the service had been ordered to preserve them.

    But there's other forms of information. There's radio traffic, there's emails. There's teams messages, and on and on. It's a huge volume of material. And frankly, it's a major task to go through and sort through what's relevant and what is irrelevant. So our staff was working hard at that.

  • Geoff Bennett:

    Earlier this month, Congressman Jamie Raskin said the committee assumes that former Vice President Mike Pence will testify before the panel. Is that still a working assumption? Has your committee received any commitments from him or his team?

  • Zoe Lofgren:

    Well, he said publicly, that he would be very interested in coming in, and then that was walked back. The fact is that were we to engage in compulsion. There are issues about that. There isn't time for the litigation, to run its course between now and the end of this Congress. So you know, we had thought he would come in because he said he would. But I think he had a change of heart.

  • Geoff Bennett:

    A question about the timeline. You've got this hearing on Wednesday, potentially one more hearing to outline the committee's findings, its work product. Do you expect that you'll be able to present your report before the midterms?

  • Zoe Lofgren:

    I doubt that. It's, you know, as a huge volume of material. And we are working hard to get the report concluded, as you know, a select committees are established for the life of one Congress. We've always known that. And the — this Congress is ending at the end of December, so we have to get it done before then. But we want it to be complete. Accessible. We may have a few other pieces of information that we can provide to the public. But I doubt very much that the full report will be done by the end of October.

  • Geoff Bennett:

    As we wrap up our conversation, the house this past week, passed a set of electoral reforms that you introduced along with Congresswoman Liz Cheney, aimed at shoring up ambiguities in the presidential certification process, which Donald Trump and his allies tried to exploit in overturning Joe Biden's win. That picked up some support from nine House Republicans, all of whom are retiring from Congress. What are the next steps? There's a similar effort in the Senate that bill differs from the one that the House passed? What happens next?

  • Zoe Lofgren:

    Well, the Senate is proceeding and obviously there are conversations underway between myself and Liz and senators. They have a markup scheduled, I think for Tuesday on their bill. There's a lot of overlap, just as there are some dissimilarities as they make amendments.

    We'll see uh if there are elements that we covered that they didn't, that they might be interested in doesn't mean they'll do it exactly the way we did. But I'm hopeful that we will use the legislative process to come to an agreement. There's no reason why we can't have a meeting of the minds using the legislative process.

    So I fully expect that we will, it will not be done next week. Because both the House and Senate will be in recess until after the election, but I believe we will come to a meeting of the minds.

  • Geoff Bennett:

    Any concerns that reconciling the two pieces of legislation or finding some compromise would make it less effective?

  • Zoe Lofgren:

    Well, obviously, we thought our bill was the best. And probably the Senate thinks theirs is the best. But the deal is that, you know, you don't have to get 100 percent of your way, and in order to have an improvement to existing law. And so that's what my goal is. I'm sure that's what the senators' goal is. There shouldn't be and I don't believe there will be intransigence. We want to make a better law that keeps our country safer than it is now. And there's no doubt that we can get to that point if we work in good faith. And I I intend to, and I'm sure the senators do as well.

  • Geoff Bennett:

    Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, Democrat from California and a member of the January 6 committee. Thanks again for your time.

  • Zoe Lofgren:

    Thank you.

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