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White House tells GOP lawmaker it’s reviewing and redacting Jan. 6 panel transcripts for security reasons

Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., who has been investigating the Democratic-led House Jan. 6 committee, said he wants all the testimony and transcripts without redaction.
Rep. Barry Loudermilk
Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., Bill Clark / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — The White House has informed a GOP lawmaker that it's reviewing several transcripts of interviews conducted by the former House Jan. 6 committee to protect "sensitive operational and personal information."

In a letter to Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., obtained by NBC News, White House special counsel Richard Sauber said the White House is reviewing the transcripts of testimony provided by four witnesses to the Jan. 6 panel who served in the Trump White House on the day of the riot in nonpartisan roles. Once the review is complete, the White House will send the transcripts, with appropriate redactions, to the National Archives and Record Administration, Sauber said.

The witnesses testified voluntarily after the Jan. 6 committee "agreed that their names, titles, past and present affiliations, and operational details would not be publicly disclosed," Sauber wrote in the letter, which was first reported by CNN. "During the interviews, the witnesses described their responsibilities, including with respect to national security, and described security protocols in and around the White House."

The Jan. 6 committee sent the transcripts to the White House for review, along with a letter stating the panel's goal to "protect the identity" of the four people, Sauber said.

Loudermilk leads the House Administration subcommittee on oversight, which has been probing the Democratic-controlled Jan. 6 panel, which was dissolved in January.

Reps. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., who were the chairman and the vice chair of the panel, respectively, asked the White House to review the transcripts and "address the need for limitations on disclosure of sensitive information," Sauber said.

"The White House is currently conducting this review. We expect to complete our review soon," Sauber wrote. "When we do so, we will send the transcripts to NARA with appropriate redactions to protect sensitive operational and personal information, consistent with the White House’s agreement with the Select Committee. In response to your request, we will provide copies of the transcripts to you at the same time."

Sauber's letter was a response to a letter Loudermilk sent to the White House on Aug. 8, in which he requested the return of "all original documents and records related to the events of January 6, 2021, that the White House has that originated from the Select Committee."

Asked for comment, Loudermilk's office pointed NBC News to a tweet in which he criticized the White House for seeking to redact certain testimony given to the Jan. 6 committee.

"It is imperative to my investigation that we recover all testimony, documents, videos, and data that were to be preserved by the J6 select committee," he tweeted. "This means recovering them in their entirety, without redaction. The records sent to the White House and DHS are House records and must be returned immediately. Now the White House wants to redact testimony given to the Democrat-controlled J6 Committee and other records. What are they trying to hide?"

The Jan. 6 committee, which finished its investigation at the end of 2022, had released security video that showed Loudermilk giving a tour of the Capitol on Jan. 5, 2021, the day before the riot. Loudermilk has strenuously denied that the group he led was scouting the complex ahead of the insurrection.

In March, Loudermilk said he was launching an investigation into the panel. Later that month, he said in a sharply worded statement that he had conducted an initial review into the committee and found that its work "isn’t credible, and they owe every individual whose reputation they attempted to smear an apology."