Witnesses will testify that Trump allies spoke directly with extremist groups, Capitol riot committee chair says.

Witnesses will testify that Trump allies spoke directly with extremist groups, Capitol riot committee chair says.
Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., speaks as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds its first public hearing to reveal the findings of a year-long investigation, on Capitol Hill, Thursday, June 9, 2022, in Washington.Andrew Harnik/AP
  • Trump allies spoke directly with extremist groups, the January 6 hearing committee chair alleged.
  • Rep. Bennie Thompson spoke with CNN's Jake's Tapper following Thursday night's prime-time hearing.

Upcoming hearing witnesses will describe direct, back-channel talks between Trump allies and extremist groups in the lead-up to the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, House Select Committee Chair Bennie Thompson said in an interview with CNN.

Thompson teased the upcoming testimony in an interview with network host Jake Tapper after presiding over Thursday night's first, prime-time hearing on the attack on the Capitol after Tapper mentioned the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers.

Leaders of the two far-right, pro-Trump groups have been charged with seditious conspiracy for their alleged roles in the attack.

"I wonder about the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers," Tapper asked.

"You convincingly made the case that Trump was good for their membership," Tapper said, referring to a Proud Boy's videotaped testimony, broadcast Thursday night, stating that membership tripled after Trump told the group to "stand back and stand by."


"And you convincingly made the case that they were there, they thought, because Trump had told them to be there to undermine the election, to stop the electoral count vote," Tapper continued.

"Are there going to be witnesses that describe actual conversations between those extremist groups and anyone in Trump's orbit?" the host asked.

"Yes," Thompson answered. He did not name names.

"Obviously, you have to go through the hearings," Thompson said. "But we have a number of witnesses who come forward that people have not talked to before, that will document a lot of what was going on in the Trump orbit while all of this was occurring."

He added, "And everything the public heard tonight is factual. We can prove it."


The Oath Keepers are accused of keeping caches of arms off-site, but at the ready as the attack unfolded, and federal prosecutors allege the group's leader, Elmer Stewart Rhodes, personally tried to speak to Donald Trump that day.

Federal prosecutors have alleged that a force of some 200 Proud Boys spearheaded the attack on the property itself.

Prosecutors have said that the extremist group's members were the first to reach the barricades and the first to breach the building itself, allegedly using a riot shield ripped from a Capitol Police officer to break a Capitol window.