The U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack Friday afternoon officially announced it will hold a primetime hearing next week, the eighth and final hearing in what is seen as the first part of its efforts to share with the public critical information it has obtained about the insurrection.
The announcement comes just hours after all nine members of the committee met with Joseph Cuffari, the Department of Homeland Security inspector general who revealed in a letter published Thursday that the U.S. Secret Service deleted text messages from January 5 and 6, 2021, the day before and of the insurrection.
Cuffari “met with the committee behind closed doors two days after sending a letter to lawmakers informing them that the text messages were erased after the watchdog agency asked for records related to its electronic communications as part of its ongoing investigation around the Capitol attack,” CNN reports.
“The committee now plans to reach out to Secret Service officials to ask about the erasure of text messages from the day of the US Capitol attack and the day before, including the agency’s process for cleaning out files to see if that policy was followed, the committee Chairman Bennie Thompson told CNN.”
The Committee also announced that its next hearing will be held Thursday, July 21, at 8 PM ET.
Daily Beast political reporter Jose Pagliery notes because the hearing is scheduled for 8 PM, which “would be TV primetime … there’s the insinuation that this is meant to be a big one.”
CBS News’ Scott MacFarlane says next week’s hearing will focus on Donald Trump and his efforts to interfere with the Committee’s investigation. That could also include allegations he may have attempted to engage in witness intimidation.
NBC News earlier this week reported Chairman Thompson said Thursday’s hearing will be “the last one — at this point.”
But the Committee is expected to hold additional hearings as soon as next month. It has indicated it is interested is obtaining testimony from both former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence.
That news comes as reports say Donald Trump is expected to announce his third presidential run some time before the November midterms, possibly in September. The Dept. of Justice has given no indication it is pursuing an investigation into what legal experts have repeatedly said are his potentially criminal acts.
One expert, former U.S. Attorney Barb McQuade, says she will be “listening for elements of involuntary manslaughter in Trump’s failure to stop the attack” at next Thursday’s hearing.
The Wall Street Journal Thursday evening reported Committee member Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) “said he expects the committee will likely decide to make a criminal referral to the Justice Department regarding Mr. Trump’s actions on Jan. 6 and the days leading up to it.”