The House select committee investigating the 6 January insurrection has issued subpoenas for documents and testimony to 10 former Trump administration officials who served at the highest levels of government during the worst attack on the Capitol since the 1814 burning of Washington.
Among those receiving subpoenas are Kayleigh McEnany, the former White House press secretary; Nicholas Luna, who served as former president Donald Trump’s personal aide – or “body man” – during the last days of his presidency; and John McEntee, the ex-University of Connecticut quarterback who ran the White House Office of Presidential Personnel.
“The Select Committee wants to learn every detail of what went on in the White House on January 6th and in the days beforehand. 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,” Chairman Bennie Thompson said in a statement on Tuesday. “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 January 6th ever happens again.”
Other ex-White House administration officials who received subpoenas include Molly Michael, Mr Trump’s former director of Oval Office operations; ex-senior policy adviser Stephen Miller; former deputy chief of staff for operations Chris Liddell; Ben Williamson, a former top aide to ex-chief of staff Mark Meadows; and former legislative affairs special assistant Cassidy Hutchinson.
Two others, General Keith Kellogg and Kenneth Klukowski, were not part of Mr Trump’s staff, but served in the Office of the Vice President and the Justice Department.
General Kellogg, a retired Army lieutenant general, served as former Vice President Mike Pence’s national security adviser, while Mr Klukowski was a senior counsel to ex-assistant attorney general Jeffrey Clark, the former DOJ official who tried to get then-acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen to send a letter to state legislatures which suggested that they invalidate their election results and send a slate of pro-Trump electoral votes to Congress for certification.
According to a source familiar with the investigation, committee investigators are particularly in hearing from Mr Luna, whose job it was to remain close to Mr Trump at all hours.
“As former President’s Trump personal assistant... you would have been in regular contact with White House officials, including former President Trump, during many meetings and events relevant to the Select Comittee’s inquiry,” Mr Thompson wrote in a letter accompanying the subpoena to Mr Luna. “For example, you were reportedly in the Oval Office the morning of January 6,2021, when former President Trump was on a phone call to Vice President Pence pressuring him not to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election.”
Mr McEntee previously held Mr Luna’s position before Mr Trump tapped him to run the White House personnel office and purge the administration of appointees who were seen to be insufficiently loyal to the president.
In a letter accompanying the subpoena that was issued to him, Mr Thompson noted that Mr McEntee had made efforts to discourage administration appointees and officials from seeking employment for after Mr Trump’s term ended, even after it had become clear that he had lost the 2020 election.
Earlier this week, the committee also issued subpoenas to a number of figures who played prominent roles either in Mr Trump’s reelection campaign or the push to overturn the election results which began after it became clear that the campaign had failed.
In a statement issued shortly after the latest subpoenas were announced, Mr Trump said the “unselect committee” – which he accused of being composed of “politically ambitious hacks” – “should be studying the Fraudulent Election that led to the protest”.
Mr Trump has in recent weeks taken to referring to the violent insurrection as a “protest” and claiming that the “real insurrection” occurred when voters denied him a second term in the White House.
In addition to downplaying the significance of what happened on 6 January, the former president has also pushed for his former aides to refuse to cooperate with the committee’s investigation based on dubious claims of executive privilege, a legal doctrine which protects communications between and among a president and his advisers. He has also filed a lawsuit using the same arguments to prevent the National Archives and Records Administration from turning over records from his administration to the committee.
To date, Mr Trump’s successor has declined to honor his requests for executive privilege to be used to shield his administration’s records from the committee, citing the “unique and exceptional” circumstances presented by the attack on Congress during certification of the 2020 election.
The Independent has contacted Mr McEntee, Mr Williamson, Ms McEnany, Mr Miller and other subpoena recipients for comment.
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