On January 7, 2021, while workmen cleaned the US Capitol, the phone lines in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office started to ring.
Rioters were phoning “asking whether there was a lost and found because they forgot their phone there, or they left their purse or what have you,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., in a Q&A.
Raskin said that police officers quickly took down information from the callers.
“The officers quickly got on the phone and said, yeah, just give us your name, your address, your social, you know, and we’ll tie up those loose ends,” Raskin said. “But what’s so fascinating to me about that there really were people who felt as if they had been summoned to Washington by the president.”
Rioters stormed Pelosi’s office, forcing her staff to flee to a conference room, where they barred the doors with file cabinets.
Raskin noted that the apparently self-incriminating phone calls were also an indication of how important former President Donald Trump was to the thousands of Americans who traveled to DC for a protest and ended up storming the Capitol.
Raskin went on to say that the “lost and found” story exemplifies the difficulty that the House select committee examining January 6 faces, of which he is a member.
“And when they were told that they were trespassing and invading the Capitol, they said the president invited them to be there,” he said. “They didn’t have any kind of subtle understanding of the separation of powers. They just thought that the number one person in the US government had invited them to be there, and therefore they had a right.
“It underscores the central role that Donald Trump played in it,” Raskin continued. “But it does create a problem for assigning guilt at different levels of conduct.”
Raskin explained his “three rings” methodology for comprehending the events of that day.
The largest ring was formed by thousands of demonstrators who marched from the Ellipse to the Capitol following Trump’s event. The second ring consisted of different militia organizations and others who came to the Capitol with the intention of disrupting the certification of the 2020 election results.
According to Raskin, the third ring consisted of those who surrounded Trump and worked to facilitate his desire to reverse the election results.
“I would like people to understand that it was not one, indivisible sequence of action, but there were different components to what was happening,” Raskin said.
Kelly Meggs, an alleged leader of the right-wing militia organization Oath Keepers, has filed a lawsuit against Pelosi in an effort to prevent the House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot from getting specific phone data.
The panel ordered Verizon to give over all call and text message information pertaining to Kelly Meggs’ wife, Connie Meggs’, mobile phones from November 1, 2020, to January 31, 2021. Connie Meggs said in a complaint filed on Monday that the subpoena violated her constitutional right to a fair trial by tainting the jury pool and breaking marital communications privilege because discussions she had with her husband would be revealed.
Kelly and Connie Meggs are accused of plotting to prevent President Joe Biden’s election win from being certified. Kelly Meggs was reportedly “searching for” Pelosi during the Capitol disturbance over a year ago, according to court papers acquired.
On the evening of January 6, 2021, a message was sent to Kelly Meggs indicating he was “hoping to see Nancy’s head rolling down the front steps,” to which Kelly Meggs replied, “we looked forward to,” a statement Judge Amit Mehta ruled “almost certainly” an error and meant to be “looked for” Pelosi.
Connie Meggs is said to have been a member of the “stack” of persons that walked up the Capitol steps toward the building. Prosecutors argued that this “stack,” which comprised numerous defendants advancing in a line with their hands on the shoulders of those in front of them, was proof of a planned effort to prevent Congress from certifying the 2020 presidential election.
The Meggs are two of almost 20 defendants accused with conspiracy, the most serious allegation faced by any of the suspected rioters. According to the couple’s complaint, the subpoena issued by the committee on January 6 was extremely wide and included “clearly irrelevant time periods.”
It’s an argument used by Donald Trump in his bid to prevent information from being given over to the committee, which is looking for papers from the former president going back to April 2020. While Douglas Letter, general counsel for the House of Representatives, admitted the records may not reveal any evidence, he contended that they were required to identify the “atmosphere” that led to the Capitol incident.
Connie and Kelly Meggs argued in their lawsuit that the subpoena violated their marital communications privilege and could infringe on the privacy rights of those associated with the account because they are on a family phone plan. According to the complaint, the subpoena is a violation of privacy “worse than what happened under the British Crown.”
The couple’s complaint also alleged that the January 6 investigation might jeopardize Connie Meggs’ ability to get a fair criminal trial. The Meggs complaint claimed that the House select committee is generating bias within the jury pool by labeling the Capitol rioters as “terrorists.”
Invoking another of Trump’s points, the Meggs said that the committee is “partisan” since it is made up of just two Republicans, Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. Both were chastised in their respective areas for voting to impeach Trump.
The Meggs contended that allowing the subpoena to continue would result in a “massive chilling of current and future activists’ associational and free speech rights.” They were concerned about what would happen if Republicans demanded the records of Black Lives Matter activists.