US Capitol attack committee issues subpoenas to 10 senior Trump officials

The House select committee investigating the 6 January insurrection at the US Capitol issued further subpoenas on Tuesday to 10 Trump administration officials, including the former senior adviser Stephen Miller and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, expanding their inquiry into Donald Trump’s involvement in circumstances surrounding the attack.

The subpoenas demanding documents and testimony are focused squarely on activities surrounding the White House and come a day after the select committee subpoenaed other top Trump lieutenants who aimed to undercut the results of the 2020 election while working from the Willard hotel in Washington.

House investigators targeted 10 senior Trump White House aides on Tuesday, most notably Miller, McEnany, former vice-president Mike Pence’s national security adviser Keith Kellogg and the then White House personnel director John McEntee.

The select committee also subpoenaed the former operations coordinator for the Oval Office, Molly Michael, Trump’s White House deputy chief of staff, Christopher Liddell, senior DoJ counsel Kenneth Klukowski, as well as top aides Cassidy Hutchinson, Ben Williamson and Nicholas Luna.

The Mississippi Democratic congressman Bennie Thompson, who chairs the select committee, said in a statement that he authorized the subpoenas to the Trump officials in order to “know precisely what role the former president and his aides played in efforts to stop the counting of the electoral votes”.

Thompson added the select committee also wanted the 10 Trump officials to help inform whether anyone outside the White House was involved in attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 election. “We believe the witnesses have relevant information.”

Extremist Trump supporters broke into the US Capitol on 6 January ostensibly to try to prevent congress certifying Joe Biden’s victory over Trump in the presidential election the previous November.

Most of the subpoenas appear aimed at uncovering details about how Trump pressured Pence to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s election win at the 6 January joint session of Congress, and whether it was connected to the Capitol attack.

Trump had argued in a court filing that materials requested by the committee were covered by a legal doctrine known as executive privilege that protects the confidentiality of some White House communications.
He requested an injunction blocking the National Archives, a federal agency that holds his White House records, from complying with the committee’s document requests.

The committee has said it needs the requested materials to understand the role Trump may have played in fomenting the riot.

The select committee said investigators subpoenaed Miller since he pushed state legislators to send alternative slates of electors as part of an attempt to return Trump to office, and a wider effort to spread lies about voter fraud that had been debunked by the justice department and others who have declared 2020 the most secure election in US history.

House investigators subpoenaed McEnany and McEntee given they were both in close proximity to Trump on 6 January as he watched the attack unfold on TV, the select committee said, and could shed light onto Trump’s actions during the insurrection.

The subpoena for Kellogg, a top aide to Pence, came in part because he was reportedly a direct witness to a January 2021 meeting with Trump and White House counsel Pat Cipollone when the former president told Pence not to certify Biden’s win.

Kellogg, the select committee said, was also present in the White House during the Capitol attack, and reportedly has “direct information about the former president’s statements about, and reaction to, the insurrection”.

The 10 Trump officials targeted in the latest round of subpoenas reflect a new strategy adopted by House investigators in recent weeks to target aides in Trump’s direct orbit, as well as their aides in turn, who are less able to attempt to claim executive privilege and stonewall the inquiry.

Then White House chief of staff Mark Meadows may have a potential claim to executive privilege, but if he had told Williamson, his top aide, what he knew about any involvement by Trump in relation to the events that unfolded on 6 January, Williamson would be more likely to have to provide that information to investigators.

Williamson did not respond on Tuesday to requests for comment from the Guardian.

Other aides have been subpoenaed in relation to activities such as involvement on behalf of Trump in spreading lies and pressuring election officials about unfounded election fraud and being present at meetings about overturning Biden’s victory.

The select committee gave all 10 Trump officials until 23 November to comply with the document requests in the subpoena, with deposition dates scheduled through December. It was not immediately clear on Tuesday whether any of the officials would cooperate.

The news of the fresh subpoenas came hours after a federal judge denied a request from Trump for an injunction aimed at temporarily blocking the National Archives from releasing records dating from his administration.

Trump’s legal team had filed an emergency motion late on Monday asking the US district court judge Tanya Chutkan for the injuction, but it was refused.

Trump and the committee are now waiting for a decision from the judge on whether the archives, the federal agency that holds the former president’s White House records, should hand over material such as telephone records, visitor logs and other documents to the committee starting on Friday.



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