House Jan. 6 panel subpoenas 10 former White House aides
Published 11:55 pm Tuesday, November 9, 2021
By Mary Clare Jalonick, Eric Tucker and Jill Colvin
WASHINGTON — House investigators issued subpoenas Tuesday to 10 former officials who worked for Donald Trump at the end of his presidency, an effort to find out more about what the president was doing and saying as his supporters violently stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in a bid to overturn his defeat.
The subpoenas, including demands for documents and testimony from former senior adviser Stephen Miller and former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, bring the House panel tasked with investigating the insurrection even closer inside Trump’s inner circle — and closer to Trump himself. They come a day after the committee subpoenaed six other associates of the former president who spread claims about widespread fraud in the election and strategized about how to thwart President Joe Biden’s victory.
“The Select Committee wants to learn every detail of what went on in the White House on January 6th and in the days beforehand,” said Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, the Democratic chairman of the panel. “We need to know precisely what role the former president and his aides played in efforts to stop the counting of the electoral votes and if they were in touch with anyone outside the White House attempting to overturn the outcome of the election.”
Later Tuesday, a federal judge rejected Trump’s request to block the National Archives from releasing White House documents concerning the Jan. 6 insurrection to the House committee. Trump is expected to appeal the ruling and it is likely to eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court.
It is so far unclear if the Jan. 6 panel will subpoena Trump, though the committee’s leaders have said they haven’t ruled anything out. The panel has now issued more than 30 subpoenas, including to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, longtime ally Steve Bannon and others who were close to the former president.
The House later voted to hold Bannon in contempt after he said he would not comply, and the Justice Department is still deciding whether to prosecute the case. Meadows and others have “engaged” with the committee, according to lawmakers, but may still be held in contempt if they do not fully comply.
The panel has already interviewed more than 150 witnesses, and lawmakers have said they want to not only probe the attack itself but its origins — namely the claims that Trump spread about massive voter fraud even though all 50 states had certified Biden’s win and courts across the country rejected his claims. The violent mob of Trump’s supporters echoed those false claims as they pushed past police, broke through windows and doors and threatened lawmakers who were certifying the election that day.
Trump continued to push the false narrative in a statement responding to the subpoenas, saying the committee “is studying the PROTEST when it should be studying the Fraudulent Election that led to the protest.”
The 10 former officials who were subpoenaed Tuesday either could not be reached or did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The panel said Tuesday that it had issued subpoenas for Miller, who Thompson said had “participated in efforts to spread false information about alleged voter fraud” and McEnany, who the committee said was present at times with Trump as he watched the insurrection and spoke at a rally that morning.
The panel is also demanding documents and testimony from Keith Kellogg, former Vice President Mike Pence’s national security adviser, writing in the subpoena that it wants to hear from him because “you were with President Trump as the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol unfolded and have direct information about the former president’s statements about, and reactions to, the Capitol insurrection.” His subpoena says that according to several accounts, Kellogg urged Trump to send out a tweet aimed at helping to control the crowd.
Other former Trump White House aides subpoenaed Tuesday include personal assistant Nicholas Luna, who the panel said may have witnessed a phone call from Trump to Pence pressuring him not to certify Biden’s win; special assistant Molly Michael, who the committee said sent information about election fraud to “various individuals at the direction of President Trump”; deputy assistant Ben Williamson, a senior adviser to Meadows; deputy chief of staff Christopher Liddell, who was in the White House on Jan. 6 and considered resigning, according to reports; and personnel director John McEntee and special assistant Cassidy Hutchinson, who the committee said were also in the White House that day and at the rally.
The panel also subpoenaed former Justice Department official Kenneth Klukowski, who Thompson said communicated with Jeffrey Clark, a former assistant attorney general, about a letter Clark had drafted urging officials in Georgia to delay certification of the voting results in that state because of purported fraud.
The letter said Clark and Klukowski spoke before a Jan. 3 meeting at the White House in which Trump openly contemplated replacing acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen with Clark. Rosen and other leaders at the department had pushed back on the false fraud claims.
The committee has also subpoenaed Clark, who appeared for a deposition last week but declined to testify, partly based on Trump’s claims that documents the committee is trying to obtain from the National Archives are privileged. Trump has sued to shield the documents from the panel but Biden has so far said he will allow the release of most of them.
On Monday, the panel 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 centers ahead of Jan. 6.