Democrat-Led Jan. 6 Select Committee Subpoenas Four Key Trump Officials

Democrat-Led Jan. 6 Select Committee Subpoenas Four Key Trump Officials

Mona Salama
Mona Salama
September 24, 2021

The Democratic-led House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol issued its first round of subpoenas for documents and testimony from four of Donald Trump's closest advisers, ramping up its investigation in demanded detailed records in their focus into finding every movement, conversations, and involvement the former president had on the day of the Capitol riot.

Select Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) sent the subpoenas to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows; former White House deputy chief of staff for communications Dan Scavino; acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller chief of staff Kash Patel; and former Trump adviser Stephen Bannon. In the letters, Thompson stated the subpoenas compels the four Trump officials to produce sought-after documents relevant to the Capitol riot by Oct. 7 and to sit for a deposition the following week, on either Oct. 14 or 15. Bannon and Patel are scheduled first to appear for the depositions on Oct. 14, while Meadows and Scavino are slated for the following day.

"The Committee is investigating the facts, circumstances, and causes of the January 6th attack and issues relating to the peaceful transfer of power, to identify and evaluate lessons learned and to recommend corrective laws, policies, procedures rules, or regulations," Thompson said in a statement announcing the subpoenas.

In individually addressed letters conveying the subpoenas, Thompson details further as to why each recipient is believed to have critical information for the panel regarding Trump's actions in the weeks leading to Jan. 6 and during the Capitol riot.

Thompson's letter to Meadows states the former chief of staff was engaged in multiple conversations with state and federal officials as part of an effort to contest the 2020 election results or prevent Joe Biden’s certification. The letter states Meadows was in direct communications with top officials at the Justice Department in pushing for probes into election fraud in several states weeks after the election, according to documents obtained from the agency. Meadows was also reportedly in communication with organizers of the Jan. 6 rally, including Amy Kremer of Women for America First.

"You were the President's Chief of Staff and have critical information regarding many elements of our inquiry. It appears you were with or in the vicinity of President Trump on January 6, had communications with the President and others on January 6 regarding events at the Capitol, and are a witness regarding activities of that day," Thompson wrote to Meadows.

In the letter to Bannon, Thompson noted that the former advisor was heavily involved in the final week, including his communication with Trump on December 30th, 2020, where he reportedly urged the former president to "focus his efforts on Jan 6th." The committee seeks to find more details from Bannon over a meeting that was reported in a new book "Peril," by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, where he reportedly met with members of Congress the night before at the Willard Hotel in D.C in "efforts to persuade" them to block the certification. Thompson also notes Bannon was reportedly quoted on Jan 5th, saying that "All hell is going to break loose tomorrow."

Thompson asserted in his letter to Scavino that his proximity to Trump during the hours the Capitol riot was unfolding is seen as being a key "witness" and has "information relevant" into the former president's "activities and communications in the period leading up to and on January 6." The committee notes that Scavino reportedly met with Trump on Jan. 5 to discuss "how to convince Members of Congress not to certify the election for Joe Biden."

Along with his relevant information on Trump's move during the Capitol riot, the committee also cites Scavino promoting the Jan. 6 March for Trump on Twitter where he encouraged people to "be a part of history" in the days leading up to the rally and the tweets posted during the times the Capitol riot ensued.

"Your long service with the former President — spanning more than a decade and which included service as his digital strategy director, overseeing his social media presence... suggest that you have knowledge concerning communications involving the 2020 presidential election and rallies and activities supporting and including the former President on January 6," Thompson letter to Scavino reads. "You may also have materials relevant to [Trump's] videotaping and tweeting messages on January 6."

In the letter to Patel, Thompson is asked to shed light on the discussions he had among senior Pentagon officials regarding Capitol security preparations ahead of the attack and its response during the events unfolding, as well as reportedly being in constant contact with Meadows Jan. 6.

Patel, in a statement, said he was "disappointed, but not surprised" that the committee issued a subpoena before seeking his voluntary cooperation.

"I am disappointed, but not surprised, that the committee tried to subpoena me through the press and violated longstanding protocol — which I upheld as a congressional staffer — by resorting to compulsory process before seeking my voluntary cooperation," Patel said in a statement. "I will continue to tell the truth to the American people about the events of Jan. 6."

Shortly after news broke, Trump released a statement, calling the panel the "'Unselect Committee' of highly partisan politicians," and vowing to invoke "executive privilege" to block the four subpoenas issued.

"We will fight the Subpoenas on Executive Privilege and other grounds, for the good of our Country, while we wait to find out whether or not Subpoenas will be sent out to Antifa and BLM for the death and destruction they have caused in tearing apart our Democrat-run cities throughout America," Trump said in an emailed statement sent from Save America PAC.

"Hopefully, the Unselect Committee will be calling witnesses on the Rigged Presidential Election of 2020, which is the primary reason that hundreds of thousands of people went to Washington, D.C. in the first place," Trump added. "Let the people of the United States see the real facts, which cannot happen because the Fake News refuses to write about them. The Witch Hunt will never end!"

Last month, the committee seeking to expand its probe issued orders to 35 social media and communications companies, including telecom giants AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless, to preserve communications records between April 1, 2020, and Jan. 31, 2021. The select committee also issued orders to eight federal agencies to turn over relevant documents and seek information from 15 social media companies, including Apple, Google, Facebook, Signal, Slack, YouTube, Twitch, and Twitter, on disinformation spread ahead of Jan. 6 events.

The preservation orders to telecom giants from the committee seek documents targeting the nearly 600 individuals who have been charged by the Department of Justice or the District of Columbia with crimes related to the Capitol riot. The committee is also eyeing certain GOP lawmakers communication documents from those who participated in a Save America rally on the morning of Jan. 6 prior to the riot, its potential planning, and those who were involved in attempts "to challenge, delay, or interfere" with the congressional certification of the 2020 presidential election results.

CNN reported that the committee targeted certain GOP House members, as of now Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Paul Gosar also of Arizona, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Jody Hice of Georgia and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania. The list is reported to be evolving, and more GOP members, including Senators, could be added as the committee investigation steps up. In addition to the members of Congress, the committee will also request the records of Trump be preserved, as well as his daughter Ivanka, his two sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, as well as his daughter-in-law Lara Trump and Trump Jr.'s girlfriend, who also worked on the Trump 2020 campaign, Kimberly Guilfoyle.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) established the Democrat-led select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot in June following the original 9/11 style bipartisan independent panel being blocked in the Senate. The resolution gave Pelosi the final authority on the committee's formation, which she exercised late July in rejecting two of the five GOP members recommended by Minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) — Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jim Banks of Indiana from serving on the panel. The move from Pelosi prompted McCarthy to pull his other three other appointees from serving on the "partisan" committee but didn't affect the committee from moving forward in its formation. Pelosi would name Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) to serve alongside Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), whom the House Speaker selected prior on the now nine-person panel.

The first hearing from the select committee was held in late July that featured testimony hearing from four Capitol and D.C. Metropolitan Police officers who were on duty at the Jan. 6 riot.

Mona Salama

Mona Salama

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