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House panel probing the Capitol attack moves closer into Trump's inner circle

A MARTINEZ, HOST:

A federal judge says it was more likely than not that former President Donald Trump violated the law and tried to obstruct Congress in his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. This finding is narrowly focused on communications involving pro-Trump lawyer John Eastman, which had been sought by the House panel investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. That committee met yesterday, shortly after the judge issued his 44-page ruling. NPR's congressional reporter Claudia Grisales was there.

CLAUDIA GRISALES, BYLINE: The House Select January 6 committee is down to the final months of its probe before they present their findings to the public.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

LIZ CHENEY: We are entering a critical stage of our investigation.

GRISALES: That's Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney, the panel's ranking Republican, at a public meeting to refer to former Trump officials, ex-trade adviser Peter Navarro and former Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino, for criminal contempt of Congress for defying their subpoenas.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CHENEY: We've now taken the testimony of hundreds of witnesses with knowledge of the events of January 6, including more than a dozen former Trump White House staff members.

GRISALES: The panel also met privately to discuss Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, to testify. Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson had mentioned the plan earlier to reporters.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BENNIE THOMPSON: I feel very comfortable with inviting her to the committee and, if she refuses, issuing a subpoena.

GRISALES: After the panel's discussion, Thompson said no final decision was reached yet.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

THOMPSON: Well, we just still looking on everything.

GRISALES: The panel's members, however, say they remain undeterred to ensure that there is not another January 6 attack. Maryland Democrat Jamie Raskin, another member of the select committee, said the Scavino and Navarro contempt referrals are clear examples of that mission at play now.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JAMIE RASKIN: The American people opposed the January 6 insurrection. And the American people oppose future insurrections and coups against our government.

GRISALES: The panel could hear from former President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, in the coming days, marking a high-profile witness as the panel nears the end of its probe and potentially a new wave of evidence.

Claudia Grisales, NPR News, the Capitol.

(SOUNDBITE OF I HEAR SIRENS' "DECEPTION HAS A WAY WITH WORDS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.