The Jan. 6 select committee filing that set off a siren in the political world landed with a thud among Senate Republicans on Thursday.
The House panel said it had “a good-faith basis for concluding” former President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel claims Trump ‘engaged in criminal conspiracy’ Capitol riot defendant pleads guilty to seditious conspiracy, agrees to cooperate The Memo: Boebert’s antics blasted as another twist in politics’ downward spiral MORE and members of his campaign “engaged in a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States,” and that Trump tried to obstruct Congress’s formal counting of the Electoral College vote.
The filing marked a bombshell moment for the committee, offering a preview into the panel’s thinking about the former president months into its investigation of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack, when a mob of his supporters breached the Capitol.
But Senate Republicans, many of whom have been skeptical of the House panel, shrugged off the revelation —or said they missed it altogether.
“I’m aware of the reporting on it. I haven’t seen the filing or anything around it, and so I just really don’t have anything for you on that,” said Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneMcConnell, Scott face off over GOP’s agenda GOP senators push back hard on Trump’s praise of Putin GOP senator faces challenge on Trump credentials MORE (R-S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican.
Asked about the filing, Sen. Kevin CramerKevin John CramerPartisan cracks emerge over how to implement T infrastructure law McConnell, Scott face off over GOP’s agenda The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by Facebook – Biden announces Supreme Court pick amid unfolding Ukrainian crisis MORE (R-N.D.), who Trump helped recruit for his 2018 Senate bid, said he “didn’t see that” before pivoting to President BidenJoe BidenBiden hails UN vote: ‘Lays bare Putin’s isolation’ Overnight Defense & National Security — US tries to turn down the dial on Russia Johns Hopkins doctor says children need to get vaccinated against COVID-19 MORE.
“The current president does so many … things every day I can hardly worry about the last one,” he said, as he left the Capitol for the week.
The filing from the House select committee is tied to the panel’s legal battle to force John Eastman, the lawyer charged with drafting Trump’s strategy for the Jan. 6 certification, to turn over documents. Eastman had filed a lawsuit to try to block the committee’s subpoena, arguing that it was privileged in part because of his legal work for Trump.
The committee’s filings aren’t formal charges, and no former U.S. president has been charged with a crime. But the House panel does plan to release a report of its findings, which could be formally referred to the Justice Department for potential prosecution.
It’s hardly the first time Trump-focused drama has ricocheted back around to Senate Republicans, many of whom are eager to keep the focus on Biden, and not the former president, heading into the November election when they are optimistic about their chances of winning back the majority.
Trump faced pushback from some senators earlier this week over his warm rhetoric toward Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinUS set to sanction more Russian oligarchs: report Biden hails UN vote: ‘Lays bare Putin’s isolation’ Substitute teacher suspended for remarks supporting Putin’s invasion of Ukraine MORE. Senate Republicans broke with the Republican National Committee (RNC) resolution last month censuring GOP Reps. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyThe Memo: Boebert’s antics blasted as another twist in politics’ downward spiral McCarthy criticizes GOP members who spoke at white nationalist conference Pompeo slams Taylor-Greene for ‘playing footsie’ with ‘anti-Semitic neo-Nazis’ MORE (Wyo.) and Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerThe Memo: Boebert’s antics blasted as another twist in politics’ downward spiral House passes resolution backing Ukraine; Three Republicans vote ‘no’ McCarthy criticizes GOP members who spoke at white nationalist conference MORE (Ill.) and referring to Jan. 6 as “legitimate political discourse.”
And they’ve seen a steady churn of legal drama that they’ve tried to parse to figure out what it could mean for Trump and their party when he’s still widely considered to be the front-runner for the 2024 nomination.
But Senate Republicans have been wary for months of the House Jan. 6 committee. Six GOP senators voted last year in support of a failed effort to start an independent commission to probe the Jan. 6 attack. But most Republicans warned that a probe could be used against the party during the 2022 election by keeping Jan. 6, 2021 and Trump in a spotlight.
Sen. Mike BraunMichael BraunOn The Money — Fed puts strict limits on trades by top officials Biden signs bill to extend funding, avoid government shutdown The Hill’s Morning Report – One day, two continents, words of war MORE (R-Ind.) said on Thursday that he had only heard about the court filing from another reporter.
“I just heard about it now,” Braun said. “I think we’ll have that kind of thing be highlighted here until the time Trump announces whether he’s going to run or not. …To be honest I don’t pay much attention to that.”
Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham offers Senate measure urging Putin to be investigated for war crimes DOJ launches team to enforce sanctions on Russian oligarchs Overnight Defense & National Security — Russia expected to escalate war with Ukraine MORE (R-S.C.), who has remained close to Trump, also cast doubt on any Justice Department case that could stem from a potential referral from the committee. If the panel makes a referral to the Justice Department, it would then have to determine whether to move forward.
“I don’t see anything coming out of this committee not tainted by politics,” Graham said.