The House of Representatives panel formed to investigate the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol breach has issued its first subpoenas for four members of former President Donald Trump’s administration, the panel’s chairman said on Thursday.
Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said in a statement that the panel, which received no backing by members of Republican House leadership, has issued a round of subpoenas for documents and testimony to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, former White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Daniel Scavino, former Defense Department official Kashyap Patel, and former Trump adviser Stephen Bannon.
Thompson said the four have close ties to the former president and were working in or had communications with the White House, on or in the days leading up to the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol building.
“The Select 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,” the Democratic congressman from Mississippi wrote, highlighting the Jan. 6 committee’s authority established by House Resolution 503.
Bannon, Meadows, Scavino, and Patel have been asked to appear for a deposition in mid-October. It isn’t clear what documents have been requested. The Epoch Times has reached out to Meadows, Scavino, and Patel for comment. Bannon could not be reached for comment as of late Thursday.
The committee in its letter to Bannon said that he was “identified as present at the Willard Hotel on Jan. 5, 2021 during an effort to persuade members of Congress to block the certification of the Election the next day, and in relation to other activities on Jan. 6.”
Bannon left the White House in August 2017, but remained in contact with Trump.
“You are also described as communicating with then-President Trump on Dec. 30, 2020, and potentially other occasions, urging him to plan for and focus his efforts on Jan. 6. Moreover you are quoted as saying, on Jan. 5, 2021, that ‘[a]ll hell is going to break loose tomorrow,’” the committee wrote.
The committee’s letter to Meadows alleges that while he worked as Trump’s chief of staff, he “directly communicated with the highest officials at the Department of Justice requesting investigation into election fraud matters in several states.”
“It has been reported that you were engaged in multiple elements of the planning and preparation efforts to contest the presidential election and delay the counting of electoral votes,” it wrote.
The panel in its request to Scavino highlights several tweets that were allegedly written from the White House on Jan. 6.
“And prior to Jan. 6, 2021, you promoted, through your twitter messaging, the Jan. 6 March for Trump, which encouraged people to ‘be a part of history,” the committee wrote, alleging that the former communications lead was “with or in the vicinity of President Trump on Jan. 6 and are a witness regarding his activity that day.”
For Patel, the request cites documents that show he may have information on the Department of Defense’s response to the Jan. 6 Capitol breach. It also alleges that documents show “personal involvement in the planning for the events of Jan. 6 and the peaceful transfer of power.”
According to the Justice Department, more than 570 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 U.S. states for crimes related to the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 170 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.
The breach took place during a joint session of Congress when lawmakers met to certify electoral votes submitted by states. The Capitol grounds and building were breached by protestors and some rioters, some of whom wanted to voice their stance against then-Vice President Mike Pence’s refusal to intervene in the certification process. Thousands of peaceful protesters remained outside.
In June, FBI Director Christopher Wray told an oversight hearing held by the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee that the law enforcement agency considered the events that unfolded on Jan. 6 to be an act of “domestic terrorism.” When asked by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) whether the events could be considered an “insurrection,” Wray said it would be inappropriate to describe the breach as such, saying that the term has legal meaning and could impact ongoing criminal cases.
Democratic lawmakers have pushed the narrative that the Jan. 6 breach was an “insurrection,” largely during the January impeachment effort against then-President Donald Trump. Thompson in his statement on Thursday also describes the events that unfolded in January as an insurrection.
No one who participated in the breach has been charged with insurrection.
The chair of the House Homeland Security Committee said earlier this year that he was prepared to issue subpoenas and file lawsuits should any Jan. 6 witnesses refuse to appear.
Thompson told the Guardian in July that he wanted to interview officials in the former Trump administration who were present at the Oval Office on Jan. 6— from Meadows to Trump’s daughter Ivanka.