A House committee investigating the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol has subpoenaed four advisers and associates to former President Donald Trump who were in contact with him before and during the attack.
The panel subpoenaed former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, former White House deputy chief of staff for communications Dan Scavino, former Defense Department official Kashyap Patel and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon.
Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., wrote to the four men that the committee is investigating "the facts, circumstances, and causes" protest that moved to the Capitol and asked them to produce documents and appear at depositions in mid-October.
The subpoenas are a significant escalation for the panel, which is now launching the interview phase of the investigation after sorting through thousands of pages of documents the committee requested from federal agencies and social media companies. The goal is to provide a complete accounting of what went wrong when protesters overwhelmed police and interrupted the certification of President Joe Biden's victory — and to prevent anything like it from ever happening again.
Thompson says in letters to each of the witnesses that investigators believe they have relevant information about the lead-up to events of Jan. 6. In the case of Bannon, for instance, Democrats cite his Jan. 5 prediction "all hell is going to break loose tomorrow" and his communications with Trump one week before the riot in which he urged the president to focus his attention Jan. 6.
The committee also cites Meadows' work to overturn Trump's defeat in the weeks prior and his pressure on state officials to push the former president's allegations of widespread voter fraud.
In the letter to Meadows, Democrats say they have "credible evidence" of his involvement in events within the scope of the committee's investigation. That includes his communication with Trump on Jan. 6 and his reported involvement in the "planning and preparation of efforts to contest the presidential election and delay the counting of electoral votes."
Thompson also signaled the committee is interested in Meadows' requests to Justice Department officials for investigations into potential election fraud. Former Attorney General William Barr has said the Justice Department did not find fraud that could have affected the election's outcome.
The panel cites reports that Patel, a Trump loyalist who had recently been placed at the Pentagon, was talking to Meadows "nonstop" as Jan. 6 events unfolded.
Scavino was with Trump on Jan. 5 during a discussion about how to persuade members of Congress not to certify the election for Joe Biden, according to reports cited by the committee. On Twitter, he promoted Trump's Stop the Steal rally and encouraged supporters to "be a part of history." The panel said its records indicate Scavino was "tweeting messages from the White House" on Jan. 6.
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