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The House Jan. 6 committee schedules a last-minute hearing for Tuesday


OK, the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is holding a surprise hearing today.


Yeah. At the end of last Thursday's hearing, the chairman said that the panel would postpone future hearings until mid-July, but something changed. And while the rest of Congress is taking a break for its Fourth of July recess, the committee is back to work in Washington today.

MARTIN: NPR congressional correspondent Deirdre Walsh joins us now. Hey, Deirdre.

DEIRDRE WALSH, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.

MARTIN: What's going on?

WALSH: (Laughter) Well, the notice from the committee released yesterday suggests they have new information. It says the committee is going to convene to, quote, "present recently obtained evidence and receive witness testimony." After last Thursday's hearing, the chairman, Bennie Thompson, said the hearings next month are going to focus on efforts by extremist groups to organize the attack and on what President Trump was doing at the White House while the Capitol was under siege. But we don't know what the topic of today's hearing will be. Committee has declined to disclose any details or even say if there's going to be more than one witness.

MARTIN: So we've already seen testimony from some senior Cabinet and White House officials. Any chance we could hear from someone today who already spoke to the committee behind closed doors?

WALSH: Yes, that's actually the plan. NPR has confirmed that Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, is expected to testify today. Punchbowl News first reported she was coming in person. Like other witnesses who testified in previous public hearings, Hutchinson already sat for a closed-door interview under oath with the committee. We saw clips of her testimony in previous hearings. For example, she was the witness who named which GOP lawmakers sought presidential pardons after January 6.

The committee continues to reach out to potential witnesses. Some members stress that as new information comes in, they may want to reinterview people they've already talked to. Vice chair Liz Cheney made a public appeal at one of last week's hearings to Pat Cipollone, who was White House counsel for President Trump. Other White House lawyers have appeared in taped clips of their depositions before the committee, but Cipollone only had informal discussions about appearing under oath.

MARTIN: OK. I guess we'll see what happens today. We've also got news, Deirdre, about John Eastman - right? - someone very central to an earlier hearing. What do we know?

WALSH: Right. Eastman is the conservative lawyer who was pushing this theory to Trump and others in his inner circle that Vice President Pence could unilaterally overturn the election on January 6. We learned through a court filing that federal agents seized Eastman's cellphone last week. This happened on the same day that federal agents raided the home of Jeffrey Clark. He's the former Justice Department lawyer who also backed this Eastman scheme to block the election certification. But we don't know if those developments were related.

In that court filing, Eastman says the FBI took his phone on behalf of the DOJ inspector general. That's the internal watchdog at the Justice Department. Like that Clark raid, subpoenas have gone out to people in several states allegedly involved in this fake elector scheme. This is just another sign that as investigations - you know, as these hearings are happening, there are other investigations happening behind the scenes.

MARTIN: Yeah. NPR's Deirdre Walsh. Deirdre, thanks for this. We appreciate it.

WALSH: Thanks, Rachel. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Rachel Martin is a host of Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.
Deirdre Walsh is the congress editor for NPR's Washington Desk.