The conflict centers on a rare breach of a commission that has functioned, by most accounts, with little internal drama and controversies. It’s also an unwelcome distraction for the committee on the eve of the long-awaited list of public hearings, set to begin next week.
In a phone call on Friday, Rigelman strongly disagreed with Buckley’s assessment, saying it was “completely wrong,” but that he wanted to “continue to help the committee in any way we can.”
The former Republican congressman from Virginia said he is no longer employed by the committee and is not bound by any agreement restricting his appearances in the media. A spokesperson for the select committee declined to comment on the internal email and Riggleman’s appearance on television.
Riggleman, who holds the title of “Senior Technical Adviser” to the Select Committee, announced his departure at the end of April, Saying he will go ahead to his “next mission to help Ukraine” at an unspecified nonprofit.
In media interviews, he described his leadership in attempting to dissect a set of text messages that former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows provided to the committee and linking phone numbers to names. These text messages were obtained last month by CNN, which periodically publishes batches of them, although the station has not released the full cache.
In his television appearances — as well as his subsequent appearance on CNN on Friday morning — Riggleman verified the authenticity of the text messages and described his horror at their contents. He also discussed the commission’s work to connect the various participants in former President Donald Trump’s efforts to cancel the 2020 election, describing it as a complex, data-driven process that could take years to fully analyze, despite the commission’s compressed timeframe.
Buckley cited those details in his Wednesday email to employees.
“His specific discussion about the content of the subpoena records, our contracts, our contractors, our methodologies, and your hard work is concerning,” he wrote.
Buckley reminded employees that their hiring agreements include a pledge not to “discuss our work outside of the committee without my express permission.”
“That includes any conversation with Denver,” he wrote. “Your commitment extends far beyond being assigned a home as described in our brochure.”
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