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US House committee probing Jan. 6 riot subpoenas four key Trump aides

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The subpoenas were sent to Kashyap Patel (L), Steve Bannon, Mark Meadows, and Daniel Scavino (R). (Photo by WSJ)

A select committee of the US House of Representatives investigating the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the US Capitol has issued subpoenas to four of the closest allies of former President Donald Trump.

The subpoenas have been sent to Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows, his onetime close advisor Steve Bannon, former White House deputy chief of staff for communications Daniel Scavino and ex-defense department official Kashyap Patel.

The witnesses have been instructed to produce materials by Oct. 7 and appear at depositions in the coming weeks, the committee said in a press release on Thursday.

Bannon and Patel have been asked to appear for depositions on Oct. 14, while Meadows and Scavino’s depositions will be held on Oct. 15.

The panel claims the four men have knowledge of important details related to the events of Jan. 6.

It mark a new turn in the committee’s probe, which has been probing the Jan. 6 riot, in which hundreds of Republican supporters stormed the US Capitol building and temporarily derailed the process of confirming President Joe Biden’s election win over Trump. At least five people died in the riot.

“The Committee is investigating the facts, circumstances, and causes of the January 6th attack and issues relating to the peaceful transfer of power, to identify and evaluate lessons learned and to recommend corrective laws, policies, procedures rules, or regulations,” Bennie Thompson, US representative from Mississippi and chairman of the committee, said in a statement.

In letters addressed individually to the four men, Thompson explains further why they are believed to have key information related to the Jan. 6 siege.

Thompson tells Meadows: “You were the President's chief of staff and have critical information regarding many elements of our inquiry. It appears you were with or in the vicinity of President [Donald] Trump on January 6, had communications with the President and others on January 6 regarding events at the Capitol, and are a witness regarding activities of that day.”

The letter says Meadows also engaged in multiple attempts to contest the presidential election that Trump lost and that he was in direct communications with top officials at the agency to probe election fraud in several states weeks after the election.

In a letter to Bannon, Thompson raises details regarding his conversations with Trump before Jan. 6 and a meeting with Trump allies the night before at the Willard Hotel, located near the White House.

From Patel, he seeks information “regarding his knowledge of security preparations ahead of the attack”, and from Scavino about his “efforts to amplify the Jan. 6 event with Trump.”

“Overloaded and lacking merit”

Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich in a statement claimed the “Communist-style” House committee’s subpoenas were “overbroad and lacking merit.”

“Executive privilege will be defended, not just on behalf of President Trump and his administration, but also on behalf of the Office of the President of the United States and the future of our nation,” Budowich said. “The Fake News continues to take the Democrats bait, who are trying desperately to distract the country with this bogus process.”

In another statement released late on Thursday night, Trump criticized the committee and the Biden administration and repeated the claim that the 2020 election was “rigged” in Biden’s favor.

“Hopefully the Unselect Committee will be calling witnesses on the rigged presidential election of 2020, which is the primary reason that hundreds of thousands of people went to Washington, D.C. in the first place,” Trump said.

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