US House panel probing Jan 6 riot subpoenas 10 more Trump officials

Members of a mob incited by former President Donald Trump climb the walls of the Capitol in Washington on Jan 6, 2021. PHOTO: NYTIMES

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - The House panel probing the Jan 6 riot at the United States Capitol has subpoenaed 10 additional Trump administration officials, including former senior presidential adviser Stephen Miller and former White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

The subpoenas for documents and testimony, announced Tuesday (Nov 9), include nine aides or advisers who served in former President Donald Trump's White House and an ex-Justice Department official.

"We believe the witnesses subpoenaed today have relevant information and we expect them to comply fully with the Select Committee's investigation as we work to get answers for the American people, make recommendations on changes to the law to protect our democracy, and help ensure that nothing like Jan 6 ever happens again," Ms Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat who is chairman of the select committee, said in a statement.

According to the committee, Mr Miller has said he took part in efforts to spread falsehoods about alleged voter fraud in last year's elections and also encouraged state legislatures to change the election's outcome by appointing alternate slates of electors.

Ms McEnany made "multiple public statements" from the White House and elsewhere about alleged election fraud, including at the first White House news conference after the election when she said there were "very real claims" of voter fraud and called into question the validity of mail-in voting, according to a statement from the panel.

There was no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election.

Other Trump administration officials subpoenaed include Mr Nicholas Luna, Mr Trump's former personal assistant, who was reported to have been in the Oval Office the morning of Ja. 6 when Trump on a call tried to pressure former Vice President Mike Pence not to certify the election results.

Another potential witness summoned by the panel, Ms Molly Michael, was special assistant to the president and Oval Office operations coordinator and helped send information about alleged fraud to others at Trump's behest, the panel said.

Mr Ben Williamson, who was Mr Trump's deputy assistant and also a senior adviser to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, also received a subpoena.

The panel said he was reportedly contacted by a former White House official the day of the attack who urged both him and Meadows to have Trump issue a statement condemning the violence.

Other targets include Mr Christopher Liddell, former White House deputy chief of staff who was at the White House on Jan 6 and reportedly weighed resigning that day.

Three other White House officials who were reportedly at the White House that day also received a summons: Mr John McEntee, former White House personnel director; former vice presidential National Security Adviser Keith Kellogg; and former presidential legislative affairs assistant Cassidy Hutchinson.

A photo from Aug 17, 2020, shows former White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany (left) and presidential advisor Stephen Miller, who have been subpoenaed for the Jan 6 riot. PHOTO: AFP

Mr Kenneth Klukowski, former senior counsel to Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark, also was subpoenaed.

The committee says he was involved in drafting a letter that called on state legislatures in some states to delay certification of the election.

A Senate Judiciary Committee report said Mr Clark contacted Mr Klukowski to prepare for a meeting with Mr Trump in the Oval Office that took place three days before the insurrection at the Capitol.

The committee has said it is investigating what role Mr Trump and his top aides and political advisers may have played in efforts to stop Congress from certifying the Electoral College votes in President Joe Biden's victory and what contact they had with anyone outside the White House who wanted to overturn the result. A mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan 6, interrupting, but ultimately not stopping, the electoral vote certification.

The committee on Monday issued subpoenas for six Trump campaign aides and supporters, including former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik.

The committee has previously subpoenaed other former aides and advisers to Trump, including Mr Steve Bannon, who helped run his 2016 campaign. Mr Bannon, who was ousted from a White House position in 2017 but stayed in touch with Mr Trump, has been depicted as also participating and playing a key role in meetings with other Trump allies at the Willard Hotel near the White House in the days surrounding the Jan. 6 riot.

Mr Trump has instructed his former aides to not cooperate with the panel and has sued to block release of White House records in response to the committee's requests. In a statement Tuesday, he again said the House select committee shouldn't be investigating the Capitol insurrection, it should be examining allegations of fraud on Election Day.

"That's right, the Committee is studying the PROTEST when it should be studying the Fraudulent Election that led to the protest," Mr Trump said in the statement.

Mr Bannon has already been found in contempt by Congress for failing to comply with its demand that he testify and turn over documents. The House has forwarded it action against Bannon to the Justice Department for potential criminal prosecution.

All 10 of the subpoenas issued Tuesday called for recipients to produce documents by Nov 23 and to appear for depositions beginning Nov 29.

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