Where the January 6 Committee spends its money

Jan. 6 panel hired seasoned prosecutors and outside investigative firms

A review of the money spent by the House committee on Jan. 6 highlights the aggressive nature of its investigation, which includes hiring senior prosecutors and outside investigative firms, as well as how it differs from investigations congressional counterparts.

the The committee has already spent $2.5 million and is about to spend $9.3 million end of December, with most costs generated by staff costs and payments to outside contractors, according to an analysis of the latest information available from Congress disbursement reports.

On the other hand, the select committee created in 2014 to investigate the attack on the US consular office in Benghazi, Libya, spent less – more than $7.8 million – over a two-and-a-half-year period, with almost all of that amount going to staff.

A congressional spending expert said he viewed the Jan. 6 panel’s work as representing a new trend on Capitol Hill.

  • “It signifies a new era in congressional investigations that leverages the combined power of seasoned investigators with the latest technology to allow the committee to review more documents than ever before and recreate a digital trail of evidence,” said Keith Ashdowna veteran congressional investigator, now with the Moonlight Foundationa watch group.

The staff roster is notable, Ashdown said, because of the depth of experience of the roughly 50-person staff, which includes a few former US attorneys and several former US assistant attorneys. He also noted the hiring of contractors providing “investigative services” listed in disbursement reports.

One of the companies is A1C Partners of Davidsonville, Md., who received $122,500 in December, according to a report by the House Administration Committee. On its website, A1C describes itself as providing “advisory services, intelligence analysis…support to mission-critical federal programs at the intersection of law enforcement and intelligence.” A committee member said the company was “an open-source research company doing intelligence analysis” for the panel.

The committee’s aggressive stance drew criticism from attorneys representing individuals subpoenaed to appear before the panel; and from congressional Republicans who say the panel seems more focused on prosecution than traditional legislative fact-finding.

Committee members defend their approach as necessary and say they are determined to produce a detailed account of the events of January 6 that will inform policy and legislative proposals.

Yet panel members aren’t shy about making criminal referrals, including about former president donald trump.

In December, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) used language directly drawn from US criminal laws to question Trump’s activities. “Donald Trump,” she asked, “by action or inaction, has he corruptly sought to obstruct or interfere with the official procedure of Congress in counting electoral votes?”

“It’s exactly the same kind of rhetoric that helped lead to Vietnam”

Six questions to… Elbridge Colby: We spoke with Colby, who served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Trump administration from 2017 to 2018, about what President Bidenwas right and wrong in Ukraine. This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity from two conversations.

Early: How do you think President Biden managed the Ukrainian crisis as a whole?

Coby: The fact that an invasion of Ukraine has occurred is a huge indictment of American policy. Obviously, this has been a constant goal over several administrations to avoid this outcome. I have to say that I find it somewhat unfortunate or off-putting that there’s some kind of celebratory element to the way things have gone, because it’s the product of a huge failure.

I think the Biden administration since the invasion has handled some things well, some things not so well. Working with European allies is certainly one of their strengths. I also think, unlike some Republican colleagues, that the administration’s caution about the potential for escalation is in order. In some ways, it’s actually to Putin’s and the Kremlin’s advantage if the United States is too aggressive, because it will allow Russia to frame the conflict as basically a sort of civilizational struggle between NATO and the Russia.

Early: When you say the war is an indictment of American policy, what policies are you referring to?

Coby: If we think about the alternate history — if the Ukrainians didn’t fight with such bravery and skill, and if the Russians only faced material sanctions and international opprobrium — I think the Russians would be at [Ukraine’s] western border. So I think it’s a bad lesson to say that sanctions and international condemnation is what’s really important here. What is really important and central are the Ukrainians who defeated a Russian invasion. So that tells me the critical flaw was not arming them enough.

I also think, on a more macro level, that Biden’s now infamous comment about a “minor incursion” gave a sense of calculability. I would have preferred a Nixon, Kissinger, Eisenhower type thing, which is kind of scary – like, I don’t know what these people are doing – but also a willingness to negotiate potentially on some of the critical political issues.

Early: You tweeted that Biden’s rhetoric in his speech in Warsaw last week calling the conflict a battle “between democracy and autocracy, between freedom and repression” was “grossly ill-advised.” Why do you think this is?

Coby: I don’t think it’s politics or rhetoric that’s going to advance American interests. President Reagan was lambasted for calling the Soviets an “evil empire”. I mean, I think it was an evil empire. But many of its detractors did not say that Russia was not bad. They said, that’s extremely dangerous rhetoric when we’re dealing with a potential confrontation with a superpower. During the Cold War, there was an appreciation of risk. If I think about what is in the interest of the American people in light of a very dangerous situation, I think what we really need is [a] stable balance of power. And this is not a battle between democracy and authoritarianism.

It’s funny, because there’s a lot of positive Cold War talk these days — and I would have been a hawk on the Soviet Union, I think — but people forget about Vietnam, and the cold war hell, and how dangerous it was. It’s exactly the same kind of rhetoric that helped lead to Vietnam. This turns every confrontation into a highly pressurized situation.

Early: You wrote in a Post op-ed last year that “the Biden team seems to be betting that democracies will align in a global fight against” authoritarianism. Are you saying you think they’re misinterpreting the play?

Coby: They read the play in Northern and Western Europe. If you think of the coin as we should be — the most important coin is Asia — it’s not good. India has been widely criticized for adopting a position consistent with [its] traditional interests. Personally, I hope that India will condemn Russia’s ignominious invasion. But on the other hand, if our priority is China, and India is one of the two most important members of our coalition with Japan, we have to work with them.

Early: You served in the Trump administration. How do you think Trump would handle the war in Ukraine if he were president?

Coby: The facts are that this invasion did not occur under President Trump. And we can speculate on the reasons, but this is the most important information. The Russians had recapitalized their army in the late 2010s. [Invading Ukraine] was not beyond their capabilities. They just decided not to. Going back to that kind of Eisenhower-Nixon model, I think President Trump had in many ways a similar approach. I mean, it was the Trump administration that provided the javelins to the Ukrainians.

Early: True, but Trump was also impeached for suspend military aid to Ukraine, and he often had warm words for Putin. Does that leave you thinking about how Trump would handle this situation?

Coby: High diplomacy is not about always saying exactly how you feel. In the case of Ukraine, providing things like javelins made a lot of sense. A country that is ready to fight for itself must be supplied. But whether the Ukrainians are satisfied with something is not the crucial question. The fact that [former German chancellor] Angela Merkel didn’t like Donald Trump is not the fundamental criterion. The fundamental criterion should be: Are we seeing more collective efforts towards shared goals?

McCarthy tries to navigate the divisions separating House Republicans

McCarthy’s shots:Rep. Madison Cawthorn (RN.C.) was summoned to a private meeting with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) this week to discuss his outlandish accusation that prominent political actors invited him to orgies and used “a dab of cocaine” while he watched,” our colleagues Marianna Sotomayor and Paul Kane report.

  • “McCarthy held similar private meetings after other Republican members aligned with former President Trump distracted from his agenda — for example, when two members recently spoke at a white nationalist event — but this time he did something something different: He talked about it openly.”
  • “McCarthy has made it clear that he believes the path to regaining a majority demands that Republicans present a united front and keep the public focused on the Democrats’ intraparty fights rather than those within his own party.
  • “But there’s a rift erupting among House Republicans between stalwart Trump allies who tend to offend more than legislate and members who worry about McCarthy’s lack of edge over the former group.

Back to the drawing board: “On Thursday, a New York judge struck down new state legislative and legislative maps as defying a voter-backed constitutional amendment that sought to end partisan gerrymandering, dealing a blow to Democrats who hoped to retain their fragile majority in the House in November”, our colleague Colby Itkowitz reports.

The White House had a little fun on April Fool’s Day with the help of Kid President, aka 9-year-old Robby Novak, whose videos have gone viral on the internet. (Video: The Washington Post, Photo: The Washington Post)

What does first lady mean Jill Biden have up his sleeve today? 🤔

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