Jan 6 committee gets closer to Trump, subpoenas Mark Meadows and Steve Bannon
Four current and former aides were asked to testify in front of the committee over the Jan 6 riots. 'We will fight' declares Trump
The House Select Committee probing the January 6 insurrection has issued subpoenas for four current and former Trump staffers, indicating it is getting closer to the role of the ex-President. The committee issued subpoenas to Mark Meadows, Steve Bannon, Dan Scavino, and Kashyap Patel on September 23. As expected, the development has left Trump fuming, leading him to announce "we will fight the Subpoenas on Executive Privilege and other grounds."
The committee initially meant to be a bipartisan investigation went ahead after Nancy Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy clashed over the GOP picks. In July, the House voted against the five members including Jim Jordan and Jim Banks, for their outspoken support of Trump. The committee proceeding with the hearings on June 27, first hearing from Capitol police officers like Michael Fanone. On August 30, we reported that the committee subpoenaed the phone records of McCarthy, who was believed to have contacted Trump on January 6.
The GOP has constantly pushed back at the investigation, refusing to cooperate and threatening legal action, which has continued with the latest round of subpoenas. Reportedly, the four Trump loyalists have been called in to be questioned about efforts to overturn the election and stack the government with pro-Trump employees during the last days of the administration. Whether they will appear or not, remains to be seen.
Trump aides linked to insurrection
Chairman Bennie G Thompson announced subpoenas were sent out to Meadows, Bannon, Scavino, and Patel on September 23. Each is being called in for a different role, all linked to the insurrection. All related documents are due by October 7 and Patel and Bannon have been asked to appear on October 14. The next day, Scavino and Meadows will have to appear for "private depositions".
"Mr. Meadows was in communication with organizers of the January 6 rally," a press release issued by the committee notes. It adds that he also "communicated with officials at the state level and in the Department of Justice as part of an effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election." Scavino, who was Trump's former golf buddy and rose to become his aide and Twitter account manager has been asked to appear for promoting the 'Stop The Steal' rally that preceded the insurrection. He was also reportedly with Trump on January 5, during a "discussion of how to convince Members of Congress not to certify the election for Joe Biden."
At the time of the insurrection, Patel was serving as chief of staff to Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller. He was reportedly responsible for security at the Capitol and reportedly talked to Meadows "nonstop" during the insurrection. "Mr. Patel was involved with discussions among senior Pentagon officials prior to and on January 6th, 2021," the release notes, indicating he may have been responsible for the delayed deployment of forces to respond to the insurrection. Trump also attempted to install Patel as the Deputy Director of the CIA in December, a move that while failed, has raised flags about Trump's personnel changes.
Finally, Bannon has been asked to depose for "urging him (Trump) to focus his efforts on January 6th." He was reportedly present at the January 5 meeting at the Willard Hotel "as part of an effort to persuade Members of Congress to block the certification". While at the meeting, Bannon allegedly said, "all Hell is going to break loose tomorrow."
Trump slams subpoenas
In response to the development, Trump has issued a lengthy statement on his website. "The 'Unselect Committee' of highly partisan politicians... has sent out Harassment Subpoenas on Jan. 6th," he wrote. He then proceeded to rant about the border crisis, and the Afghanistan withdrawal before saying, "We will fight the Subpoenas on Executive Privilege and other grounds, for the good of our country."
"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," he added. "The Witch Hunt will never end!" Trump proclaimed. Meanwhile, Bannon, Meadows, Scavino, and Patel have not yet responded to the statements. Given that Trump's close aides are being targeted so early on, it is likely that the committee is also looking into the role of Trump himself, or at least what he knew.
If the four refuse to appear before the committee, criminal action is certainly on the table. "The Justice Department will be open to considering potential criminal contempt charges against anyone who ignores the law," Adam Schiff said on CNN. "Unlike the last four years, these witnesses are not going to be able to count on the former President to protect them if they, essentially, thwart the law," he added.