Jan. 6 panel issues subpoenas for right-wing Stop the Steal group and organizers

7October 2021

Protesters storm the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

John Minchillo/AP

John Minchillo/AP

The Democratic-led House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol has issued a new wave of subpoenas on Thursday for a right-wing group, Stop the Steal, and several of its members, including far-right activist Ali Alexander.

The panel is seeking testimony and records from Alexander, listed in the subpoena as Ali Abdul Akbar, and Nathan Martin. Both are connected to permit applications for the rally that preceded the deadly attack on the Capitol. The committee has also issued a subpoena to the Stop the Steal group seeking records.

“The rally on the Capitol grounds on January 6th, like the rally near the White House that day, immediately preceded the violent attack on the seat of our democracy,” Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said in a statement. “Over the course of that day, demonstrations escalated to violence and protestors became rioters. The Select Committee needs to understand all the details about the events that came before the attack, including who was involved in planning and funding them. We expect these witnesses to cooperate fully with our probe.”

The panel said a group, under the name of One Nation Under God, in Dec. 2020 submitted a permit to U.S. Capitol Police to hold a rally on Jan. 6 on “election fraud in the swing states.” However, a vendor listed on the permit application told police the group was actually tied to Stop the Steal, Alexander and Martin.

When a Capitol Police official followed up with Martin, he rejected having any details on the rally, leaving the vendor “shocked,” the panel said.

The committee said Alexander made references in public statements to the need for violence. For example, at a Dec. 19, 2020 event Alexander said that violence had not been used “yet.” There, he also lauded several members of Congress, including Arizona GOP Rep. Paul Gosar, who was at the event.

The panel is still waiting on documents from Trump allies

The new subpoenas come on the same day of the panel’s first deadline tied to subpoenas seeking records from four former Trump administration officials. The committee issued this first round of subpoenas two weeks ago to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, political strategist Steve Bannon, former Trump White House Deputy Chief of Staff for communications Dan Scavino and Kashyap Patel, who was chief of staff to former-acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller.

The subpoenas request the four Trump associates submit requested documents by Thursday and also calls for them to sit for a deposition by the end of next week. Patel and Bannon have been instructed to appear on Oct. 14 and Meadows and Scavino on Oct. 15.

While congressional subpoenas cannot be dismissed outright, if any of the former Trump officials decide to fight the effort, it could lead to an extended legal battle.

Former President Trump said he would fight these subpoenas citing executive privilege. However, executive privilege is a right traditionally asserted by the current administration to keep deliberations confidential.

The Biden White House has indicated it did not expect to use executive privilege on requests from congressional investigators seeking information about Trump’s activities on Jan. 6, but has also said future decisions would be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The committee says it has already received ‘thousands of pages of documents’

As the committee has ramped up its work, it has issued several other requests. Last week, the panel issued subpoenas to 11 individuals who played a role in organizing the rally before the siege. Among the people served were Maggie Mulvaney, the niece of former Trump adviser Mick Mulvaney, and Trump’s 2016 campaign spokeswoman, Katrina Pierson.

In August, the committee issued orders to 35 social media and communications companies to preserve relevant records and the panel asked eight federal agencies to turn over relevant documents while also seeking details from 15 social media companies on the spread of disinformation ahead of Jan. 6.

The panel has said it has received “thousands of pages of documents.”

Republicans have painted the committee, which is mostly made up of Democrats, as nothing more than a partisan exercise.

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