Capitol Riot Panel Subpoenas Trump Allies Including Flynn, Kerik, Eastman
(Bloomberg) -- The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol has subpoenaed six campaign aides and supporters of former President Donald Trump, including former National Security adviser Michael Flynn and former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik.
The subpoenas, announced Monday, reflect the panel’s interest in the activities of a group of Trump backers in the days surrounding and on the day of the Capitol riot and their efforts on Trump’s behalf to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Many of the activities described took place at a hotel two blocks from the White House.
According to the committee, Flynn took part in an Oval Office meeting on Dec. 18 “during which participants discussed seizing voting machines, declaring a national emergency, invoking certain national security emergency powers, and continuing to spread the false message that the November 2020 election had been tainted by widespread fraud.”
Kerik took part in a Jan. 5 meeting at the Willard Hotel in Washington and paid for rooms and suites that served as command centers.
“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,” Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, said in a statement.
Others targeted include John Eastman, a prominent member of Trump’s then-campaign legal team. Eastman drafted a memo outlining steps by which Trump, with then-Vice President Mike Pence’s help, could help deny Joe Biden the presidency. Former White House aide Bill Stepien, spokesman Jason Miller, and former Trump campaign official Angela McCallum also were subpoenaed, the panel said Monday.
Part of the committee’s focus is probing efforts to pressure state legislatures to challenge Biden victories and convince Republican members of Congress to object to states’ Electoral College votes on Jan. 6 as the certification process was taking place.
Eastman authored a memo discussing how Pence could disregard some states’ Electoral College votes -- making sure no candidate received the 270 electoral votes required to be declared the winner. That would then throw the election to the House, where each state delegation gets a single vote. Even though Republicans were in the minority in the House they would control a majority of state delegations.
The Washington Post has reported that rooms at the Willard were rented out to lawyers hired by the Trump campaign who with other Trump loyalists were working on various election-overturn strategies; Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph Giuliani and former chief White House strategist Stephen Bannon were also involved.
Flynn, a retired Army general and Trump’s first national security adviser, pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador, but was pardoned by Trump in November 2020 after the presidential election. Kerik, who pleaded guilty to tax fraud and lying to White House officials, was pardoned by Trump in February 2020.
The committee has previously subpoenaed other former aides and advisers to Trump, including Bannon, who helped run his 2016 campaign. Bannon, who was ousted from a White House position in 2017 but stayed in touch with Trump, has been depicted as also participating and playing a key role in Willard gatherings in the days surrounding the Jan. 6 riot.
Trump has instructed his former aides to not cooperate with the panel and has sued to block release of White House records in response to the committee’s requests.
Bannon has already been found in contempt by Congress for failing to comply with its demand that he testify and turn over documents. The House has forwarded it action against Bannon to the Justice Department for potential criminal prosecution.
As the committee and its staff continues behind closed doors to conduct hundreds of interviews, depositions and do other work, Thompson said last week there are no plans to hold another public hearing any time before the Thanksgiving holiday at the end of the month.
The subpoenas call for Eastman to provide documents by Nov. 22 and to appear for a deposition on Dec. 8. The other five are directed to provide material to the committee by Nov. 23, with McCallum to give a deposition on Nov. 30; Kerik on Dec. 3; Flynn on Dec. 6; Miller on Dec. 10; and Stepien on Dec. 13.
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