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Colorado Rep. Ken Buck criticizes January 6 committee process in Trump trial testimony

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Chase Woodruff

(Colorado Newline) One day after announcing his retirement from Congress citing his party’s “lying” about the 2020 election and the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, Republican U.S. Rep. Ken Buck of Windsor testified in court alongside multiple prominent election deniers and cast doubt on the findings of the congressional committee that investigated the attack.

Buck was called as a witness by former President Donald Trump’s legal team in a weeklong trial that could decide whether Trump will appear on Colorado’s 2024 presidential ballot. Six Colorado voters have sued Trump and Secretary of State Jena Griswold, alleging he is disqualified by a constitutional clause prohibiting anyone who took an oath to uphold the Constitution and then “engaged in insurrection” from holding office in the United States.

Under questioning from Trump attorney Scott Gessler, Buck said the events of January 6 were “obviously bad,” but took issue with the report produced by the select House committee convened to investigate the attack, which Buck said was political in nature, with the main purpose of demonstrating Trump’s “involvement and culpability.”

“It didn’t seem to me that the process was set up in a way that would elicit the whole truth in those hearings,” Buck said.

GOP opposition in the U.S. Senate prevented the formation of a broader joint commission to investigate the attacks, and House Republicans boycotted the committee after Democrats refused to seat selected members, including Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, who had voted against the certification of 2020 election results. Buck testified that he had asked then-GOP Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to serve on the committee, but McCarthy denied his request.

“Kevin told me that he did not want me serving on that committee, or any other Republican serving on that committee,” he said.

Rep. Ken Buck testifies remotely in a trial over whether former President Donald Trump is eligible to appear on the Colorado ballot, on Thursday in Denver. (Screenshot from C-SPAN)


The House’s nine-member January 6 committee ultimately included two Republicans, former Reps. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and Liz Cheney of Wyoming. Both had voted to impeach Trump for incitement of insurrection a week after the attack, and both were appointed to the committee by then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat.

“I think they both do their best to be fair, but I do think that they were more aligned with the result the Democrats were looking for,” Buck said. “I think that it was not as adversarial and it was not as challenging for the evidence as it would have been.”

On cross-examination by plaintiffs’ attorneys, Buck acknowledged that Jordan, a prominent election denier who had multiple conversations with Trump on January 6, was viewed by many as a “material witness” to the events the committee was investigating.

Buck said that his view that the January 6 committee’s motives were political was not based on direct knowledge or conversations with Democratic leaders, but on the fact that he had spent “nine years in this place.”

“That’s one of the reasons I’m looking forward to not coming back,” he said.


‘Lying to America’

Buck, who was first elected to represent Colorado’s 4th Congressional District in 2014, announced in an MSNBC interview Wednesday that he will not seek reelection next year. Shortly afterwards, he posted a video message on X, formerly Twitter.

“Too many Republican leaders are lying to America, claiming that the 2020 election was stolen, describing January 6 as an unguided tour of the Capitol and asserting that the ensuing prosecutions are a weaponization of our justice system,” Buck said in the video. “These insidious narratives breed widespread cynicism and erode Americans’ confidence in the rule of law.”

Last month, Buck opposed Jordan’s bid to become the new House Speaker on the grounds that Jordan refused to “unequivocally and publicly state that the 2020 presidential election was not stolen.” But Buck later reversed himself and backed the candidacy of Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson, another prominent House election denier, who was elected speaker on Oct. 25.

Republican 2024 prospects

Alongside Buck, other witnesses called by Trump’s team in the 14th Amendment case included Amy Kremer, a pro-Trump activist who testified that she believed the 2020 election results were fraudulent and a “coup”; Tom Van Flein, a House GOP staffer who testified that he believed “irregularities” cast doubt on the results; and Tom Bjorklund, a Colorado GOP operative who repeated widely discredited conspiracy theories claiming that left-wing “agent provocateurs” instigated the Jan. 6 violence.

On cross-examination, attorneys for the plaintiffs sought to ask Buck about his recent statements about the direction of his party, drawing vehement objections from Gessler, who said that Buck was called to testify only about what he witnessed at the Capitol on January 6 and in relation to the formation of the select committee.

“This may be salacious political material, but it’s beyond the scope of (Buck’s) direct (testimony),” Gessler said. “We worked very hard to prevent this from becoming a circus.”

Judge Sarah B. Wallace sustained the objection and blocked the line of questioning. She also cut off attempts by plaintiffs’ attorney Mario Nicolais to ask Buck about an appearance he made on CNN October 17.

In that interview, Buck reiterated his opposition to Jordan’s bid for speaker, and added that he thought Republicans will lose the 2024 election if they nominate “a presidential candidate who, right now, is leading, who denies that he lost the election and was obviously behind what happened on January 6.”

The trial is scheduled to conclude after testimony Friday.

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