January 6 panel subpoenas six more associates of Donald Trump
Mr Trump is fighting the probe in court.by By Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press
A committee investigating the January 6 Capitol insurrection has issued subpoenas to six more associates of former president Donald Trump who were involved in his efforts to overturn his defeat in the 2020 election.
The committee’s chairman Bennie Thompson said in a statement on Monday that the panel is demanding testimony and documents from former Trump campaign officials and others who participated in a “war room” ahead of the siege and strategised about how to halt the certification of Joe Biden’s victory.
Mr Thompson said the committee had issued new subpoenas to Bill Stepien, manager of Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign; Jason Miller, a senior adviser to the campaign; Angela McCallum, national executive assistant to the campaign; John Eastman, a lawyer who advised the former president; Michael Flynn, a former national security adviser to Mr Trump who talked with the former president ahead of the insurrection; and Bernard Kerik, who the committee says paid for hotel rooms that served as command centres ahead of January 6.
In the days before the January 6th attack, the former president’s closest allies and advisers drove a campaign of misinformation about the election and planned ways to stop the count of Electoral College votes.Bennie Thompson
Mr Thompson said: “In the days before the January 6th attack, the former president’s closest allies and advisers drove a campaign of misinformation about the election and planned ways to stop the count of Electoral College votes.
“The Select Committee needs to know every detail about their efforts to overturn the election, including who they were talking to in the White House and in Congress, what connections they had with rallies that escalated into a riot, and who paid for it all.”
The subpoenas come after the panel has already demanded documents and testimony from several other Trump advisers — some who have cooperated and some who have not.
The House voted last month to hold Steve Bannon, a long-time ally of Mr Trump, in contempt after he refused to comply with his subpoena.
Mr Trump himself is fighting the probe in court.
The rioters who violently pushed back police to break into the Capitol and interrupt the electoral count repeated Mr Trump’s false claims of widespread fraud, and the committee says the six newly subpoenaed witnesses helped amplify the misinformation in the days ahead of the attack.
Mr Trump’s false claims came as election officials and courts across the country verified Mr Biden’s win, and as his own attorney general said there was no evidence of significant fraud.
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Mr Thompson says in the letters to the Trump associates that the panel has uncovered “credible evidence” of their participation in the former president’s efforts to overturn the election and cites ways that they individually tried to further his cause.
In Mr Stepien’s subpoena, Mr Thompson cites the testimony of an unnamed witness in saying he oversaw the “conversion” of Mr Trump’s presidential campaign to a “Stop the Steal” effort.
In letters to Mr Miller and Ms McCallum, Mr Thompson cites specific efforts to spread the false claims, including a phone call from Ms McCallum to an unidentified Michigan state legislator asking if the Trump campaign could “count on” them and urging the person to push for the appointment of new state electors.
Mr Thompson detailed several efforts by Mr Eastman, a lawyer and professor, to persuade former vice president Mike Pence to try to overturn the election as he presided over the congressional certification — a power Mr Pence did not legally have.
Mr Thompson also cites Eastman’s outreach to states, including a briefing to state legislators, and his participation in the so-called “war room” at the Willard Hotel where he, Mr Bannon, Mr Kerik and others strategised ahead of the siege about how to overturn Mr Trump’s defeat.
Mr Kerik, a former New York City police commissioner who was pardoned by Mr Trump after serving time in prison for tax fraud and other charges, responded to his subpoena with a lengthy statement on Monday evening.
He said that he “was not hired to overturn the will of the people, only to look into the integrity of the process” and that his focus after the election was on “looking for evidence”, not public relations.
“As to the events of January 6th, I was not involved,” he said.
The others contacted by The Associated Press did not respond to requests for comment.
In the letter to Mr Flynn — the former national security adviser who twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and was also pardoned by Mr Trump — Mr Thompson cited a December Oval Office meeting with the then-president.
Citing media reports, Mr Thompson said Mr Flynn and other participants “discussed seizing voting machines, declaring a national emergency, invoking certain national security emergency powers and continuing to spread the message that the November 2020 election had been tainted by widespread fraud”.