The House select committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the US Capitol issued subpoenas to four key allies of former President Donald Trump Thursday, with the committee’s chairman instructing them to sit for depositions next month.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) announced that former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, former chief strategist Steve Bannon, former Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Dan Scavino and former Pentagon official Kash Patel had been subpoenaed because they all were working in or had communicated with the White House either in the days leading up to the riot or on the day itself.
In letters to all four men, Thompson said that the committee is investigating “the facts, circumstances, and causes” of the riot, which led to the deaths of five people.
In a letter to Meadows, Thompson cited reports that the then-chief of staff “engaged in multiple elements of the planning and preparation of efforts to contest the presidential election and delay the counting of electoral votes.
“In addition,” Thompson’s letter goes on, ” … while you were the President’s Chief of Staff, you directly communicated with the highest officials at the Department of Justice requesting investigations into election fraud matters in several states” and “contacted several state officials to ensure to encourage investigation of allegations of voter fraud, even after such allegations had been dismissed by state and federal courts, and after the Electoral College had met and voted”.
The chairman’s letter to Bannon, who was fired from his White House post by Trump in August 2017, notes his presence at the Willard Hotel in Washington the night before the riot “during an effort to persuade Members of Congress to block the certification of the election”. Thompson also mentions that Bannon was quoted that same day as saying, “All hell is going to break loose tomorrow [Jan. 6].”
The letter to Scavino, best known for operating Trump’s infamous Twitter account, alleges that he was “tweeting messages from the White House on January 6” and promoted the “Stop the Steal” rally which precipitated the riot.
Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) is asked to shed light on how Pentagon officials prepared for and responded to the events of Jan. 6.
The letters instruct all four to turn over requested documents to the committee by Oct. 7. Bannon and Patel have been told to sit for depositions Oct. 14, with Meadows and Scavino scheduled to be interviewed the following day.
The subpoenas are a significant escalation for the panel, which plans to launch the interview phase of the investigation after sorting through thousands of pages of documents requested from federal agencies and social media companies.
Last month, the committee issued a sweeping request for the records from the National Archives and Records Administration and several other agencies, including phone records from members of Congress.
The panel also asked for documents and communications from inside the White House on Jan. 6 that pertain to several key figures in the Trump administration, including Stephen Miller, Peter Navarro, Kayleigh McEnany, Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, Lara Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner, Melania Trump, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Michael Flynn and Rudy Giuliani.
In a statement late Thursday, Trump slammed the panel as an “‘Unselect Committee’ of highly partisan politicians, a similar group that perpetrated the now proven lie of Russia, Russia, Russia, Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine, Impeachment Hoax #1, Impeachment Hoax #2, and many other Scams” that had issued “Harassment Subpoenas.”
“We will fight the Subpoenas on Executive Privilege and other grounds, for the good of our Country,” the former president vowed, “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.”
None of the four targets of the subpoenas had any immediate comment Thursday night.
With Post wires