The House of Representatives select committee investigating the 6 January insurrection has issued subpoenas to six more prominent figures in former president Donald Trump’s orbit, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn, ex-Chapman University law professor John Eastman, and two former top Trump campaign officials: campaign manager Bill Stepien and senior adviser Jason Miller.
According to documents released by the committee, each of the new targets is thought by investigators to have played a role in Mr Trump’s months-long push to delegitimise — and later overturn — the results of last year’s presidential election.
In a statement, Select Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson noted that Mr Trump’s “closest allies and advisers drove a campaign of misinformation about the election and planned ways to stop the count of Electoral College votes” in the days prior to 6 January, when Congress was set to meet in a joint session to certify then-President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
“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,” Mr Thompson said.
Some of the Trumpworld figures who received subpoenas, such as Mr Stepien, Mr Miller, and executive assistant Angela McCallum, had formal roles with the Trump campaign.
But others, such as Mr Flynn — a retired Army Lieutenant General who spent just over three weeks as Mr Trump’s national security adviser before being fired (and later criminally charged) for lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation — were not part of any formal operation but made efforts to find any possible way to keep Mr Trump in power after it became clear that he had lost to Mr Biden.
“You reportedly attended a December 18, 2020, meeting in the Oval Office during which participants discussed seizing voting machines, declaring a national emergency, invoking certain national security emergency powers, and continuing to spread the message that the November 2020 election had been tainted by widespread fraud,’” Mr Thompson wrote in a letter to Mr Flynn accompanying the subpoena.
“The day before, you did an interview on Newsmax TV during which you talked about seizing voting machines, foreign influence in the election, and the purported precedent for deploying military troops and declaring martial law to “rerun” the election. Accordingly, the Select Committee seeks documents and a deposition regarding these and other matters that are within the scope of the Select Committee’s inquiry”.
Most infamous among the informal advisers named in the committee’s latest subpoenas is Mr Eastman, who not only spoke at the 6 January rally which immediately proceeded the violence at the Capitol, but also participated in a meeting the previous day at a Willard Hotel “war room,” along with Mr Miller and former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, who last month was referred to the Justice Department for contempt of congress after defying a subpoena from the select committee.
Mr Eastman is also the author of the so-called “coup memo,” a legal memorandum which purported to lay out how then-vice president Mike Pence could ensure that Mr Trump would be certified as the winner of the 2020 election by refusing to count electoral votes from states that were carried by Mr Biden — including Georgia, Arizona, and Pennsylvania — based on postal ballots from areas with significant numbers of non-white voters. In the days before the attack, he met with both Mr Trump, Mr Pence, and their advisers to try to convince the vice president to go along with his plan.
When Mr Pence’s counsel, Greg Jacobs, emailed Mr Eastman during the riot to say he bore responsibility for the violence, Mr Eastman reportedly replied that the mob at the Capitol was the fault of Mr Pence because he “did not do what was necessary” to continue Mr Trump’s push to undo the election.
In a letter to Mr Eastman, Mr Thompson wrote that the former law professor’s testimony and documents were “directly relevant” to the committee’s efforts because he was “instrumental in advising President Trump that Vice President Pence could determine which electors were recognized on January 6,” and noted that Mr Eastman’s view was shared by many of those who attacked the Capitol that day.
The chairman also noted that Mr Trump has made public statements which have effectively waived any attorney-client privilege which Mr Eastman might use to keep from testifying to the committee when he is expected to be deposed on 8 December.
Also receiving a subpoena on Monday was ex-New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik, who reportedly paid for the Willard Hotel rooms used by Trump allies such as himself, Mr Miller, Mr Bannon, and ex-New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani in the days leading up to the attack on the Capitol.
Mr Kerik, a convicted felon who received a presidential pardon from Mr Trump in early 2020, is expected to appear to testify on 3 December.
The Independent has contacted Mr Stepien, Mr Miller, and Ms McCallum for comment. Messrs Eastman, Flynn, and Kerik were not immediately reachable.
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