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Trump national security adviser to meet with Jan. 6 committee

Robert O'Brien is scheduled to meet with the committee Friday, a week after the panel spoke with Trump's transportation secretary, Elaine Chao.
National security adviser Robert O'Brien makes a statement on troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan, at the White House on Nov. 17, 2020.
Robert O'Brien, then the White House national security adviser, speaks about troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan at the White House on Nov. 17, 2020.Evan Vucci / AP file

WASHINGTON — The House Jan. 6 committee is set to interview former national security adviser Robert O'Brien on Friday as it expands its inquiry into former President Donald Trump's role in the insurrection, a source familiar with the panel's work confirmed.

Former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who resigned the day after the Capitol riot, has already spoken with the committee, the source said. Chao was interviewed Aug. 3. A representative for Chao declined to comment.

The committee is trying to learn more about what top Trump administration officials knew about the former president's intentions on Jan. 6, 2021, and whether Cabinet members discussed removing him from office — by invoking the 25th Amendment to the Constitution — in the wake of the riot, the source said.

In a series of high-profile public hearings, the committee has shown that Trump and his allies tried to overturn the results of the 2020 election in a number of ways. They included pressuring state elections officials to reverse results, creating slates of "fake electors" to replace certified electors and urging Justice Department officials to falsely declare the election fraudulent.

After all else failed, Trump tried to get then-Vice President Mike Pence to agree to interfere with the constitutional count of the electoral votes that made Joe Biden president.

At a rally held near the White House on Jan. 6, Trump told his supporters to march to the Capitol, where a mob broke into the building and suspended the process of counting electoral votes. Some in the crowd chanted, "Hang Mike Pence!"

The insurrection forced members of Congress to delay the count of electoral votes. Chao's husband, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is one of the members who were forced to seek safe hiding places amid the rioting.

The committee has said it will hold more public hearings after Congress' August recess.

CNN first reported that Chao had met with the panel and that the panel was seeking interviews with O'Brien, as well as former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

The committee declined to comment.