Jan. 6 committee interviews Mnuchin, expands interest in 25th Amendment

The panel interviewed former President Donald Trump’s former Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, sources told CNN.

Sources told CNN the committee was negotiating terms for a possible interview with former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe. Given the classified nature of Ratcliffe’s former role, there are some unique issues that both sides need to address.

The committee will also interview former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo starting this week and meet with former White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Thursday.

Several former Cabinet officials are known to have met with the committee before, including Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia, Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller and Acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen.

The committee also met with former Attorney General Bill Barr, but he had left the administration before the events of January 6.

The committee also previously interviewed Ken Cuccinelli and contacted Chad Wolf, two senior Trump-era Department of Homeland Security officials, CNN reported last year.

Interest in the 25th Amendment and activities following the Capitol attack comes after former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson expressed “great concern” last month that the Cabinet and then-Vice President Mike Pence could attempt to impeach the President.

“There was great concern about the potential invocation of the 25th Amendment, and there was concern about what would happen in the Senate if it did,” Hutchinson said.

But Mark Short, former chief of staff to former Vice President Mike Pence, told CNN on Thursday that he “doesn’t recall there being any serious conversation” about invoking the 25th Amendment, saying its use would not have been practical.

“The reality is there were 10 days left in administration,” Short said. “It was a political ploy. And, furthermore, you know, when they crafted the 25th Amendment, it has higher standards, higher hurdles than even impeachment. Whereas impeachment requires a simple majority in the House and a supermajority in the Senate, that requires Cabinet approval, plus a supermajority in the House, plus a supermajority in the Senate.”

Short added: “That didn’t happen in 10 days in administration… It was really just a political ploy by Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats in Congress to try and pressure to exercise that and it was never going to happen. nowhere in our White House.”

A spokesperson for the select committee declined to comment.

CNN has reached out to Mnuchin for comment.

ABC News was first to report Mnuchin’s interview.

DOJ criminal investigation escalates

The Justice Department’s separate criminal investigation into conspiracies to overturn the 2020 election is also heating up.

CNN previously reported that Hutchinson was cooperating with the DOJ’s criminal investigation, a source with knowledge of the discussions confirmed to CNN. The extent of this cooperation is unclear. Hutchinson was a star witness for the committee.

The DOJ also obtained a second warrant to search right-wing attorney John Eastman’s cellphone as part of its criminal investigation, prosecutors said in a court filing on Wednesday.

Investigators seized Eastman’s phone earlier this month in New Mexico after receiving a warrant to take the device. Officers needed a second warrant to search the contents of the phone, which they received on July 12.

The warrant is a critical step in the Justice Department’s intensifying investigation into Jan. 6, where investigators have apparently focused on the conduct of Trump and the efforts of his close allies to void the 2020 election.

Eastman was a key figure in the committee’s investigation into the plot to overturn the election results. A federal judge has previously said Eastman and Trump “more likely than not” planned a crime as they sought to disrupt Congress’ Jan. 6 certification of the presidential election.

This story has been updated with additional details.

CNN’s Devan Cole contributed to this report.

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