National Security

Jan. 6 panel issues six new subpoenas for Eastman, top Trump aides

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol sent a number of subpoenas on Monday, including to top 2020 Trump campaign aides and the lawyer responsible for crafting the strategy for how the former president could seek to overturn the election results in Congress. 

Among the six subpoenas released is one for John Eastman, who drafted a memo advising the Trump campaign both to use supposed vice presidential authority to push back on election results and to get state legislatures to reject electors from certain states in order to deny President Biden a majority of the Electoral College vote.

Those memos became a blueprint for the Trump team in eyeing Congress and the states as avenues for unwinding the election, likely igniting Trump’s focus on having former Vice President Mike Pence buck the largely ceremonial duty of certifying the 2020 election results.

The subpoenas also target Bill Stepien, the manager of former President Trump’s 2020 campaign, Jason Miller, a senior adviser to the campaign, and Angela McCallum, Trump’s campaign assistant.

Also among those subpoenaed to appear before the committee is Michael Flynn, who briefly served as Trump’s national security adviser and who the committee said reportedly attended a December meeting at the White House during which participants discussed declaring a national emergency as a route for seizing voting machines. It also focuses on his comments suggesting using martial law following the election.

The set of subpoenas shows a focus on how those in different wings of Trump’s orbit aligned to craft a strategy for contesting the election results, from legal processes at the state and federal level to messaging around baseless claims of fraud.

“In the days before the January 6th attack, the former President’s closest allies and advisors drove a campaign of misinformation about the election and planned ways to stop the count of Electoral College votes. The Select Committee needs to know every detail about their efforts to overturn the election, including who they were talking to in the White House and in Congress, what connections they had with rallies that escalated into a riot, and who paid for it all,” Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, said in a statement.

The committee also subpoenaed Bernard Kerik, an associate of Rudy Giuliani and former New York police chief who reportedly attended the Jan. 5 meeting at the efforts “war room” at the Willard Hotel and paid for rooms and suites in the Washington hotel that served as an election-related command center.

Kerik told The Washington Post his firm billed the Trump campaign more than $55,000 for rooms for the legal team and another $10,000 in other travel expenses. He also reportedly led efforts to investigate claims of voter fraud. 

The letter to Kerik seeks his testimony about that meeting, where former Trump White House strategist Stephen Bannon, also subpoenaed by the committee, Eastman and Giuliani all spoke the day prior to the deadly riot.

The subpoena for Eastman breaks down his schedule in the days leading up to that same Jan. 5 meeting, including hosting a Jan. 2 meeting with some 300 state legislators where he told them it was “the duty of the state legislatures to fix this, this egregious conduct, and make sure that we’re not putting in the White House some guy that didn’t get elected.”

On Jan. 3, he also met with Trump and Pence to break down his six-step memo, including what Eastman argued was vice presidential authority to reject election results. On Jan. 5, he reportedly discussed the memo further with Pence’s counsel.

And on Jan. 6, he spoke at the rally near the White House that preceded the attack, reportedly later emailing Pence’s lawyer, arguing the siege “is because YOU and your boss did not do what was necessary.”

“You appear to have been instrumental in advising President Trump that Vice President Pence could determine which electors were recognized on January 6, a view that many of those who attacked the Capitol apparently also shared,” the committee wrote in its subpoena. 

For the Trump campaign aides, the subpoenas focus on false statements made surrounding the election.

For Stepien, that includes his participation in the “Stop the Steal” effort, including fundraising and messaging that “included the promotion of certain false claims related to voting machines despite an internal campaign memo in which campaign staff determined such claims were false.”

The subpoena for Miller accuses him of regularly spreading “the claim that the November 2020 election had been tainted by widespread fraud,” noting that even before the election he said Democrats would “steal” the election.

“After the election you reportedly coordinated with Mr. Trump and Rudolf Giuliani to hold public press events to claim that the election was rigged,” the subpoena states.

McCallum’s subpoena focuses more on the pressure campaign on state legislators, asking about a voicemail she left to a Michigan state representative whether the campaign could “count on” them to appoint new electors based on unfounded claims of voter fraud.

The committee’s interest in Flynn comes after the panel reportedly sought voluntary interviews with former Department of Homeland Security acting officials Chad Wolf and Ken Cuccinelli about discussions at the White House to seize voting machines. 

Beyond Flynn’s participation in the December meeting at the White House where they discussed seizing voting machines, the subpoena also notes his appearance on NewsMax “during which you talked about seizing voting machines, foreign influence in the election, and the purported precedent for deploying military troops and declaring martial law to ‘rerun’ the election.”

Trump pardoned Flynn shortly after the 2020 election after the former national security adviser twice admitted to lying to the FBI about a conversation he had with the then-Russian ambassador shortly before Trump was sworn in as president.

All are asked to turn over documents just days before Thanksgiving and to appear for a deposition in December. 

The subpoenas — the fifth batch released by the committee — follow those sent to officials working in the White House that day, those to a number of different rally organizers, and a subpoena to Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official at the center of the White House pressure campaign at the agency.

The committee has also conducted dozens of voluntary interviews, sitting down with more than 150 people.

Updated at 6:07 p.m.

Tags Bennie Thompson Bill Stepien Capitol riot Chad Wolf Donald Trump Jan. 6 panel Joe Biden Mike Pence Rudy Giuliani Steve Bannon

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