The Democrat-led January 6 select committee investigating the Capitol riot issued subpoenas to four former aides to President Donald Trump Thursday.
Those receiving subpoenas for documents and testimony include former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, former communications official Dan Scavino, and former Defense Department official Kash Patel.
What prompted these actions?
The four committed the crime of “working in or (having) communications with the White House on or in the days leading up to the January 6th insurrection.”
In a statement announcing the subpoenas, Representative Bennie Thompson (D-MS) claimed they were simply going after the facts.
“The select committee is investigating the facts, circumstances and causes of the Jan. 6 attack, and issues relating to the peaceful transfer of power, in order to identify and evaluate lessons learned and to recommend to the House and its relevant committees corrective laws, policies, procedures, rules or regulations,” Thompson wrote.
Committee member Adam Schiff (D-CA) warned that any of the Trump allies who do not comply with the subpoenas will be guilty of “criminal contempt.”
“We may have additional tools now that we didn’t before, including a Justice Department that may be willing to pursue criminal contempt when people deliberately flout compulsory process,” he said.
Legal analyst Elliott Williams suggested the speed with which the January 6 committee is moving is a sign that they are very serious.
“Quick subpoenas like this are a sign they’re not messing around,” he tweeted.
The politics of the moment, however, cannot be ignored: Democrats are facing the possibility of a bloodbath in the 2022 midterm elections with polls already trending toward Republicans, an unpopular Democrat president, and a White House making matters worse on a daily basis.
“If Democrats lose control of the House, the select committee would likely be in peril,” Axios writes.
In a statement issued Thursday evening, the former President vowed to fight any subpoenas coming out of the January 6 “unselect committee.”
“We will fight the subpoenas on Executive Privilege and other grounds, for the good of our country, while we wait to find out whether or not subpoenas will be sent out to Antifa and BLM for the death and destruction they have caused,” Trump wrote.
The committee, led by Thompson and Vice-Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY), in August advised telecommunication companies to preserve the phone records of certain individuals, including lawmakers and possibly members of President Trump’s family.
The request also demanded federal agencies turn over “all documents and communications relating to the Twenty-Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”
Additionally, the select committee requested a release of “all documents and communications related to the mental stability of Donald Trump or his fitness for office.”
Republican lawmakers turned the tables in a letter to various telecommunication and social media companies saying that if those companies provide Democrats with the phone records of Republicans, they need to provide Republicans with the phone records of Democrats.
Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) criticized the select committee, saying their latest actions show their efforts are “more about politics than anything else.”
“There’s only two questions that this committee should actually be looked upon: Why was the Capitol left so ill-prepared, and how can we make sure this never happens again?” McCarthy said.
“But that’s not what they’re focused on.”
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