Key witness: Jan. 6 panel spent more time asking about Afghan withdrawal than Capitol attack

Kash Patel calls on Democratic congressional committee to release his transcript, blasts members Schiff and Swalwell.

Updated: December 22, 2021 - 11:17pm

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    A key Trump administration official interrogated for five hours by the House Jan. 6 committee is calling on the Democrat-led panel to release his interview transcript, saying investigators spent more time questioning him on military matters like President Biden's bungled Afghanistan withdrawal than the Capitol riots.

    Former Pentagon chief of staff Kash Patel told Just the News that one of the key pieces of evidence he provided the committee was a detailed timeline of every step the Pentagon took to prepare for the Jan. 6 protests, the offers of help it made to Congress and what it did to deploy National Guard troops during the attack.

    But, Patel said, the congressional investigators showed little interest in the timeline.

    "I was in there for five hours, answered every question they asked," Patel said in an interview aired Wednesday on the John Solomon Reports podcast. "Because I have nothing to hide, and I want the truth to come out.

    "And let me just say this. They didn't even bring it up, I don't recall, the timeline. I had to submit it to them and the Inspector General, I had to submit to them. And I was prepared to go in depth into those documents. And we scarcely spent a minute or two on them in those five hours."

    Patel said what surprised him was that congressional investigators seemed to want to spend more time on Biden's bungled Afghan withdrawal and the plans the Trump administration had left behind to end the war, as well as the U.S. force posture in the terrorist haven of Somalia.

    "Again, I call for the testimony, for the transcript to be released," Patel said. "But I can say this, we spent less time talking about Jan. 6 and more time talking about Afghanistan, Somalia, and other matters.

    "I had to prepare extensively, at a great personal cost to me and my legal team, to talk about everything Jan. 6. And, you know, you'd have to go back and ask the committee if they asked for the truth about what happened about the events around the 6th. I'm not sure what the withdrawal in Afghanistan and the true force posture in Somalia have to do with any of that."

    A spokesman for the Jan. 6 select committee did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment Wednesday.

    Patel, a former federal counterterrorism prosecutor, garnered public attention in 2017-18 as the chief investigative counsel for the House Intelligence Committee when it was run by GOP Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), and he played a vital role in helping to unravel the false Russia collusion narrative that dogged the Trump White House.

    He later went to work for then-President Donald Trump as a top counterterrorism adviser on the National Security Council before becoming the chief of staff for acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller.

    On the House Intelligence Committee, Patel frequently tangled with Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell, both of California, and their staffs, who for years insisted Russia collusion was real and that the Steele dossier was to be believed.

    Both the theory and the dossier have been thoroughly discredited since, and Swalwell has also faced embarrassing questions about his relationship with a female Chinese spy.

    Patel said he was dismayed to see both men appointed to the Jan. 6 committee, saying their credibility problems on Russia and the China spy scandal, respectively, undercut the legitimacy of an important investigation into the security failures at the Capitol.

    He noted the Jan. 6 panel has twice been forced to apologize in recent weeks for factual mistakes. One mistake falsely accused former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik of attending a D.C. meeting on overturning the November elections when in fact he was in New York.

    The second mistake altered a text message between Rep. Jim Jordan and Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, a piece of evidence that Schiff personally displayed on national TV though it was doctored.

    "I don't know what this committee is putting out in terms of actual evidence, besides Adam Schiff doctoring information, that they have collected through their extensive reach of subpoena power and in collecting personal identifiable information," Patel said.

    Schiff "is the same guy that read the Steele dossier into the Congressional Record in front of the world, saying it was one of the greatest documents ever produced," he added. "This same guy now goes and gets the member of Congress's email or text and changes the verbiage, the punctuation, the grammar and the length and puts it up for the world to see.

    "Adam Schiff's credibility doesn't even exist anywhere in this universe," Patel said. "And the fact that he and Eric Swalwell and company were allowed to sit on this commission shows the seriousness in which the leadership in Congress is taking this quote-unquote select committee investigation."