Friday, August 12, 2022

House committee probing Jan. 6 Capitol riot subpoenas four Trump allies, including Mark Meadows and Steve Bannon


The House select committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot announced Thursday it issued subpoenas to four of former President Donald Trump‘s closest allies, including his former chief of staff Mark Meadows and his onetime close advisor Steve Bannon.

The subpoenas, which were also sent to former White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Daniel Scavino and ex-Defense Department official Kashyap Patel, instruct the witnesses to produce materials by Oct. 7 and appear at depositions in the coming weeks, the committee said in a press release.

The committee instructed Bannon and Patel to appear for depositions on Oct. 14, while Meadows and Scavino’s depositions are set for Oct. 15.

The subpoenas mark a sharp escalation in the committee’s probe, which aims to deliver a definitive analysis of the Jan. 6 invasion, in which hundreds of Trump’s supporters forced Congress into hiding and temporarily derailed the process of confirming President Joe Biden‘s victory.

“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,” wrote Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the chairman of the committee, in a statement Thursday. 

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows talks to reporters at the White House on October 21, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Tasos Katopodis | Getty Images News | Getty Images

A spokesman for Meadows declined CNBC’s request for comment. A spokeswoman for Bannon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich in a statement claimed the “Communist-style” House committee’s subpoenas were overbroad and lacking merit.

“Executive privilege will be defended, not just on behalf of President Trump and his administration, but also on behalf of the Office of the President of the United States and the future of our nation,” Budowich said. “The Fake News continues to take the Democrats bait, who are trying desperately to distract the country with this bogus process.”

In another, much longer, statement sent later Thursday night, Trump criticized the committee and the Biden administration and repeated the false claim that the 2020 election he lost was “rigged” against him.

“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 said.

The announcement comes two days after Rep. Adam Schiff said the committee would move to subpoena some witnesses as a first course of action if they are seen to be resistant or hostile to the panel’s goals.

In individually addressed letters, chairman Thompson explained why the witnesses are believed to have relevant information for the committee’s investigation.

A letter to Meadow said that he was “engaged in multiple elements” of planning efforts to challenge the results of the 2020 presidential election and delay the counting of electoral votes.

The letter also noted that Meadow had been in contact with organizers of the Jan. 6 insurrection, including Amy Kremer of Women for America First, and cited documents provided by the Department of Justice that show he had requested investigations into election fraud matters in several states.

As for Bannon, a letter detailed his efforts to persuade members of Congress to block the certification of the election at the Willard Hotel on Jan. 5, citing Bob Woodward’s book about the Trump administration. It also noted that Bannon had urged the former president on Dec. 30 to “focus his efforts” on Jan. 6.

A letter to Scavino underscored his long service with Trump that spans more than a decade, and detailed his knowledge about the former president’s plans leading up to the Jan. 6 insurrection. It said the committee was seeking materials that Scavino may have that are relevant to Trump’s “videotaping and tweeting messages” on Jan. 6. 

The letter also cited Scavino’s own posts on Twitter that promoted the “January 6 March for Trump” and encouraged people to “be a part of history.” 

As for Patel, a letter claimed that the committee has substantial reason to believe he has additional materials that can help them understand the role of the Department of Defense and the White House in preparing for and responding to the insurrection. 

It also noted that Patel was involved in discussions with senior Department of Defense officials regarding the security of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

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