The select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol on Thursday subpoenaed four of President Donald J. Trump’s closest advisers, stepping up investigations into what the former president did before and during the deadly riots.
The subpoenas, the first to be issued by the panel, demand information from Mark Meadows, the former White House chief of staff; Dan Scavino Jr., who was a deputy chief of staff; Stephen K. Bannon, former adviser to Mr. Trump; and Kash Patel, the former Pentagon chief of staff.
The commission demands that the four men hand in the documents by October 7 and submit them to depositions the following week.
“The select committee is investigating the facts, circumstances and causes of the January 6 attack, and issues related to the peaceful transfer of power, to identify and evaluate lessons learned and to recommend corrective laws to the House and its relevant committees, policies, procedures, rules or regulations,” Representative Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat and chairman of the committee, wrote in a statement announcing the subpoenas.
In letters relaying the orders, the commission said it was seeking information about Mr Trump’s actions leading up to and during the riots. Bannon reportedly communicated with Trump on Dec. 30, urging him to focus his efforts on Jan. 6, the committee said. He also attended a meeting at the Willard Hotel the day before the violence, when plans were discussed to try to overturn the election results the next day, the committee said. He was quoted as saying: “Tomorrow all hell will break loose.”
Mr Meadows was involved in planning efforts to undermine the results of the election, the commission claimed. In the final weeks of his term in office, he repeatedly urged the Justice Department to investigate baseless conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election, according to emails to Congress, parts of which were reviewed by The New York Times.
Mr Meadows was also in contact with the organizers of the January 6 rally that preceded the violence, including Amy Kremer of Women for America First, the committee said.
Mr. Scavino was in contact with Mr. Trump and others who had planned the rallies leading up to the Jan. 6 violence, and met with Mr. Trump on Jan. 5 to discuss how to persuade members of Congress to vote in favor of the election. for President Biden failed to certify, the committee said.
Mr Scavino promoted the January 6 for Trump on Twitter, encouraging people to “be a part of history.” Records show that, according to the panel, Mr. Scavino tweeted messages from the White House on Jan. 6.
Mr. Patel was chief of staff to acting Secretary of Defense Christopher C. Miller during the attack, after Mr. Trump appointed him to replace Mark T. Esper as the Pentagon’s top official. According to documents provided by the Ministry of Defense and published reports, Mr. Patel involved in discussions among senior Pentagon officials before and during the attack on Capitol security. Mr Patel was also reportedly in constant contact with Mr Meadows on the day of the attack, the commission said.
It has also been reported that the former president attempted to install Mr. Patel as deputy director of the CIA in early December, but that planned appointment was called off after Gina Haspel, the then director, threatened to resign.
Mr Bannon, Mr Meadows, Mr Scavino and Mr Patel did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The subpoenas come as the commission has demanded detailed records of Mr Trump’s every move and meeting on the day of the attack, in requests to federal agencies that suggested it was focusing on the former president’s possible involvement in the planning or execution of the attack. the attack .
Their prompt release indicates the panel is aggressively pursuing its investigation, without pausing to negotiate with key witnesses who could provide important information.
“Quick subpoenas like this are a sign they aren’t messing around,” Elliot Williams, a legal analyst, wrote on Twitter.
The panel examines what led to the violence that engulfed the Capitol when Mr. Trump’s supporters stormed the building, brutalizing police officers and delaying official vote counting for hours to formalize Mr. Biden’s victory. Little is known about what the former president was up to when he saw the chaos unfold, or in the days before.
The committee last month sent records retention requirements to 35 tech companies, according to several people familiar with the documents and who spoke about their contents on condition of anonymity. Among the hundreds of people whose records the commission wants to keep are about a dozen House Republicans, including Representative Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader, who has threatened retaliation against any company that adheres to it.
On Thursday, Mr McCarthy again criticized the committee, calling its work “more about politics than anything else”.
“There are only two questions for this committee to look at: why was the Capitol left so ill-prepared and how can we make sure this never happens again?” he said. “But they’re not focused on that.”