Jan. 6 committee asks Facebook, AT&T, Google, others to save phone, internet data

The House select committee tasked with investigating the pro-Trump Jan. 6 Capitol riot has asked more than three dozen communication and social media companies to preserve their records as the panel expands its probe into the deadly insurrection. 

The panel is asking the companies — including Facebook, Google and Twitter, among others — to "preserve records relating to certain individuals who hold or have held accounts with your company from April 1, 2020, to January 31, 2021," according to a letter sent to Facebook on Aug. 30. 

"The Select Committee seeks the preservation of these records as part of its examination of the violent attack on the Capitol and the broader context of efforts to delay or interfere with the peaceful transfer of power following the 2020 election," the letter continued. 

Each letter sent to the 35 companies had an attached list of individuals whose records the select committee sought to preserve, but those attachments are not available to the public.

Chairman Bennie Thompson

FILE - Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., addresses the media after the House Jan. 6 select committee hearing in Cannon Building to examine the January 2021 attack on the Capitol, on Tuesday, July 27, 2021. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

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The panel is seeking to "preserve metadata, subscriber information, technical usage information, and content of communications for the listed individuals," according to the letter. 

The records being requested for preservation are expansive. Information linked to individuals who are under investigation range from home addresses, IP addresses to register an account, credit or banking information for online purchases, emails, voicemails and text messages. 

The panel is also requesting companies retrieve any deleted profiles or information from individuals who are suspected of participating in the Capitol riot. 

The list of the companies includes 1&1 Mail, 4chan, 8kun, Amazon, AOL Mail, Apple, AT&T, Discord, Facebook, Gab, Google, LogMeIn, MeWe, Microsoft, Parler, Proton Technologies, Reddit, Rocket, Chat, Rumble, Signal, Slack, Snap, Sprint, Telegram, theDonald.win, Tiktok, T-Mobile, Twitch, Twitter, U.S. Cellular, Verizon Wireless, Yahoo! Mail, YouTube, Zello and Zoho. 

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"As the Select Committee continues its work, we anticipate delivering to you document requests for more specific categories of information. Your immediate efforts to identify and preserve these documents is therefore essential," the letter concluded. 

Chairman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi said last week that the committee would be requesting the records preservation for "several hundred people" as the committee begins its probe into the insurrection, in which hundreds of former President Donald Trump’s supporters seeking to overturn the election stormed the Capitol, brutally beat police, broke through windows and doors and sent lawmakers running for their lives. 

The letters are the third such request as the committee gathers information on the origins of the riot and the details of what happened that day. The probe could take months or even years, as the Democrat-led panel conducts interviews, holds public hearings and prepares a comprehensive report on how the mob was able to infiltrate the Capitol and interrupt the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory. It was the most serious assault on Congress in two centuries. 

Among the hundreds of names are Trump’s and those of several family members, including his children Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric, according to the person familiar with the request. Also on the list are several of Trump’s most ardent Republican allies in Congress, including GOP Reps. Mo Brooks of Alabama, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Jody Hice of Georgia, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina. 

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Several of those House members spoke to Trump as the rioting was unfolding. Their names were first reported by CNN as on the committee’s list. 

The request comes after the panel demanded a trove of records from federal intelligence and law enforcement agencies last week. The committee also asked 15 social media companies to provide copies of any reviews, studies, reports or analysis about misinformation related to the 2020 election, foreign influence in the election, efforts to stop the election certification and "domestic violent extremists" associated with efforts to overturn the 2020 election, including the attack on the Capitol. 

Republicans in the House have objected to most all of the committee’s work as partisan, and GOP leader Kevin McCarthy pulled five of his members off the panel after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected two of them. Republican Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, both of whom have repeatedly criticized Trump and his lies about election fraud, still joined the committee despite McCarthy’s disapproval. 

At least nine people who were at the Capitol that day died during or after the rioting, including a woman who was shot and killed by police as she tried to break into the House chamber and three other Trump supporters who suffered medical emergencies. Two police officers died by suicide in the days that immediately followed, and a third officer, Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, collapsed and died after engaging with the protesters. A medical examiner later determined that Sicknick died of natural causes. 

Earlier this summer, the Metropolitan Police announced that two more of their officers who had responded to the insurrection had died by suicide. Officer Kyle DeFreytag was found dead on July 10 and Officer Gunther Hashida was found dead in his home weeks later. The circumstances that led to their deaths are unknown. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.