Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with the House January 6 committee on Tuesday, according to panel member Rep. Zoe Lofgren. The California Democrat confirmed CNN’s earlier reporting that Pompeo would be deposed by the committee, according to a source familiar with the matter.
CNN has previously reported on Pompeo’s negotiations with the committee about his testimony. The panel has shown an increased interest in members of former President Donald Trump’s Cabinet, particularly regarding conversations among Cabinet members about invoking the 25th Amendment after January 6, 2021, and the committee’s focus in the Pompeo interview was expected to be on the 25th Amendment, the source said.
A portion of the 25th Amendment, which addresses presidential succession, allows a vice president and a majority of the Cabinet to vote to remove a president from office due to his inability to “discharge the powers and duties of his office.”
Pompeo served as CIA director for the first year of Trump’s presidency, and led the State Department for Trump’s final three years, where he was a stalwart Trump ally and defender.
Lofgren refused to comment on the particulars of Pompeo’s testimony in an interview on Tuesday, but told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room” that “he came in willingly, and he did answer questions for quite some time.”
When asked if the committee learned any new information from Pompeo’s testimony, Lofgren said, “I think we fill in a few pieces here and there each time we interview someone. Obviously, we’ve had testimony from others about what he said and did. And so, it’s just a matter of filling out the entire picture, especially on that day and the events subsequent to that day, where the Cabinet secretaries had concerns about the President.”
The New York Times was first to report Pompeo’s expected appearance Tuesday.
As discussions surrounding the 25th Amendment come into focus, the committee had also hoped to hear from Doug Mastriano, the Trump-endorsed Republican nominee for governor in Pennsylvania, on Tuesday.
However, Mastriano’s virtual appearance Tuesday only lasted about 15 minutes and “he didn’t answer a single question,” according to a source familiar with the matter.
Mastriano’s attorney cut off the virtual appearance soon after it began, the source said. His lawyer, Tim Parlatore, took issue with several procedural matters related to the deposition, and raised questions about the legality of the subpoena that Mastriano received from the panel, the source added.
Mastriano, a key figure in Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election, led a faux legislative “hearing” at a hotel in Gettysburg a few weeks after the 2020 election, where Trump and his then-lawyer Rudy Giuliani made false claims about election fraud. He also chartered buses to bring Trump supporters to Washington on January 6, and he was briefly in charge of the Pennsylvania state Senate’s partisan “audit” of the 2020 election.
Last week, Mastriano threatened to walk out of a scheduled deposition before the House select committee unless the panel agreed to his conditions, potentially setting up a court fight over his testimony.
In a letter to the committee, his attorney, Parlatore had said he would pull out of the scheduled deposition unless they could agree to certain accommodations. Parlatore asked that he be able to videotape the deposition, keep the footage in escrow, and release portions of it later on, if the committee publicly releases clips that he believes would require additional context.
Several Trump Cabinet officials have already met with the committee, including Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller, Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia. Attorney General William Barr also met with the committee, but he had left the administration prior to the January 6 insurrection.
This story has been updated with additional background information.