US Capitol riot panel subpoenas more former Trump allies

House panel probing deadly insurrection says six ex-Trump advisers amplified election fraud misinformation before riot.

Crowd in front of US Capitol and a US flag and Trump flag
A US House of Representatives committee is investigating the events of January 6, when a mob of supporters of ex-President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building [File: Jose Luis Magana/AP Photo]

United States legislators investigating this year’s deadly insurrection at the Capitol in Washington, DC, have subpoenaed more allies of Donald Trump that they say helped amplify the former president’s false election fraud claims.

On Monday, the US House of Representatives committee investigating the events of January 6 issued subpoenas to six former Trump associates who are accused of being involved in the former president’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential elections.

Trump had repeated unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud for weeks after the November 4 vote, and he was later impeached for “incitement of insurrection” after a mob of his supporters overran the US Capitol building.

The riot took place as Congress was meeting to certify President Joe Biden’s election victory.

Representative Bennie Thompson, who chairs the panel, said on Monday that the committee was demanding testimony and documents from ex-Trump campaign officials and others who participated in a “war room” ahead of the riot and strategised about how to halt the certification.

Thompson said the committee had issued subpoenas to Bill Stepien, manager of Trump’s 2020 reelection 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 Trump who talked with Trump 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 advisors drove a campaign of misinformation about the election and planned ways to stop the count of Electoral College votes,” Thompson said in a statement.

“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 panel is working with other close Trump advisers to gain testimony, but some former US officials have resisted attempts to get them to testify in the probe, including ex-Trump adviser Steve Bannon and a former top US Justice Department official.

Trump himself has sought to invoke “executive privilege” to block the panel from accessing White House documents into the riot, but the Biden administration last month refused to agree to Trump’s request.

“The president’s dedicated to ensuring that something like that could never happen again, which is why the administration is cooperating with ongoing investigations, including the January 6 Select Committee, to bring to light what happened,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on October 8.

“As a part of this process, the president has determined that an assertion of executive privilege is not warranted for the first set of documents from the Trump White House that have been provided to us by the National Archives.”

To date, the House panel has interviewed more than 150 people across government, social media and law enforcement.

Source: Al Jazeera, AP