Five seems to be their favorite number.
Key ally of the former US President Donald Trump invoked the Fifth Amendment and declined to answer any substantive questions when they appeared before the congressional committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, records show.
The panel released transcripts of 35 interviews with witnesses on Wednesday as they prepared to make the case public. year-end report of its January 6 poll.
Close Trump allies – including right-wing agent Roger Stone, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and lawyers John Eastman — spent almost their entire interview with the panel invoking the Fifth Amendment, which protects against self-incrimination.
The amendment, part of the US Constitution’s Bill of Rights, protects people from being forced to testify against themselves.
While some former officials in Trump’s orbit and the former president himself defied committee subpoenaAt risk of criminal charges, others appeared before the committee but provided no information.
Today, the Selection Committee made public 34 transcripts of witness statements that were collected during the Selection Committee’s investigation.
These records can be found on the Select Committee website: https://t.co/JZaSH4GmdK
– Committee January 6 (@Jan6thCmte) December 21, 2022
Stone even refused to answer basic factual questions, such as his age and where he lived.
Here’s how the conversation went:
Question: “Mr. Stone, where do you reside?”
Answer: “On the advice of my attorney, I will take advantage of my Fifth Amendment rights.”
Question: “How old are you?”
Answer: “On the advice of my attorney, I will once again assert my Fifth Amendment right to respectfully refuse to answer your question.”
In the Flynn interview, investigators expressed frustration with former US general incessantly invoked the Fifth Amendment.
The interviewer asked to know the basis of his refusal to answer the questions and asked if Flynn feared that his answers would expose him to charges in future proceedings.
Flynn’s attorney retorted by asserting that the Fifth Amendment serves to “protect innocent people from being ensnared in ambiguous circumstances.”
During a public committee hearing earlier this year, the committee’s vice chair, Congressman Liz Cheney, noted witnesses’ refusal to give meaningful answers in interviews.
“Roger Stone won the fifth prize. General Michael Flynn was fifth. John Eastman took fifth place,” she speaks. “Others like Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro simply refused to comply with the legal subpoena, and they were prosecuted.”
Bannon, a top Trump adviser, was convicted four months in prison in October for refusing to cooperate with the commission.
Earlier this week, the council proposed criminal charges against Trump, alleging that he broke the law during his campaign to overturn the 2020 election. Trump has repeatedly made false accusations of election fraud, which lawmakers say have culminated during the January 6 event.
Trump supporters stormed into and ransacked the Capitol in an attempt to prevent President Joe Biden’s confirmation of victory.
“That evidence led to an important and straightforward conclusion: The primary cause of January 6 was one man, former President Donald Trump, whom many others have followed. None of the events of January 6 would have happened without him,” a summary of the final report reads.
Council President, Representative Bennie Thompsonsaid on Monday that the commission would also release “non-sensitive records” before the end of the year.
“These records and documents will allow the American people to see for themselves the amount of evidence that we have gathered and continue to discover … what has led us to our conclusions,” he said.
While continuing to reiterate his baseless claim that the 2020 election was “stolen,” Trump has deny any wrongdoing associated with January 6, often rebuking the congressional panel and dismissing its work as a political witch hunt.