The US House committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol is expected to speak behind closed doors on Tuesday with former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, according to a source.
Separately, Doug Mastriano, Pennsylvania’s Republican nominee for governor and an ally of former president Donald Trump, is scheduled to appear before the panel on Tuesday.
Committee members including Vice Chairwoman Liz Cheney have signalled for weeks in TV appearances and in a public hearing that the panel was anticipating talking to members of Mr Trump’s former cabinet.
Ms Cheney noted at a June 9 public hearing that some Trump cabinet members discussed after the riot the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment to replace him as president, prior to the official presidential transition to Joe Biden on January 20. In his book, Betrayal, Jonathan Karl of ABC News reported that Mr Pompeo and then-treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin were among those talking about that possibility.
Removing Mr Trump under the amendment would have required then-vice president Mike Pence and the majority of the Trump cabinet to approve it, which did not happen.
Betsy DeVos, who was education secretary under Mr Trump, told USA Today she raised with Mr Pence whether the cabinet should consider the 25th Amendment. She said Mr Pence made it clear he was “not going to go in that direction”.
Mr Mastriano’s lawyer, Timothy Parlatore, said his client would not testify unless the panel agrees not to edit video of his answers and to not release potentially misleading or out-of-context snippets afterwards, which he said could be used to harm his campaign for governor.
The committee’s interest in Mr Mastriano has been known for some time.
Mr Mastriano learnt in a publicly released February letter from committee Chairman Bennie Thompson he was being subpoenaed to testify because of his involvement in a plan to arrange for an “alternate” slate of presidential electors from Pennsylvania for Mr Trump, and because he had direct conversations with Mr Trump “about post-election activities”.
Before that subpoena, the Senate Judiciary Committee detailed in an October 2021 report how Mr Mastriano raised “a litany of false and debunked claims of widespread election fraud in Pennsylvania”. That report noted he aired some of these at a November 25, 2020 “hearing” at a hotel in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, featuring Mr Trump's campaign lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis, which included a phone call from Mr Trump himself.
The Senate report also said that Mr Mastriano took a lead role in the “Stop the Steal” movement, spending thousands of dollars from his campaign account to charter buses to Washington for Mr Trump’s rally on the Ellipse, the precursor to the Capitol riot.
Mr Mastriano also was on the Capitol grounds as the riot unfolded, the report states, although he has said he never entered the building.
Amid these revelations, Mr Mastriano won the Republican nomination for Pennsylvania governor in May with Mr Trump’s backing against a crowded field. He is running against Democrat Josh Shapiro in the November election.