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January 6 committee targets organizers of Stop the Steal rally in latest batch of subpoenas

<i>Jon Cherry/Getty Images</i><br/>A large group of rioters stand on the East steps of the Capitol Building after storming its grounds on January 6 in Washington
Getty Images
Jon Cherry/Getty Images
A large group of rioters stand on the East steps of the Capitol Building after storming its grounds on January 6 in Washington

By Annie Grayer, Ryan Nobles, Whitney Wild and Zachary Cohen, CNN

The select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection has issued its second round of subpoenas, this time targeting individuals involved in the planning and organization of the “Stop the Steal” rally that served as a prelude to the riot at the US Capitol and other rallies organized in the lead up to the day of the attack.

The subpoenas went out Wednesday to 11 individuals who were affiliated with the organization, Women for America First, which had held the permit for the rally that preceded the riot on January 6. Women for America First also held rallies in Freedom Plaza in November and December of 2020, as well as two “March for Trump” bus tours that went nationwide seeking to generate interest in the organization’s Washington rallies. The requests show the committee has a particular interest in seeking what coordination the group may have had with the White House in its planning and as part of the larger Stop the Steal movement.

The list includes individuals such as Amy Kremer, who became one of the most influential figures in encouraging members of Congress to object to certifying the 2020 presidential results and in peddling conspiracy theories that helped spark violence at the Capitol on January 6. Kremer chairs Women for America First and was listed as a point of contact on the permit for the January 6 rally.

“The investigation has revealed credible evidence of your involvement in events within the scope of the Select Committee’s inquiry,” the subpoena states.

“According to documents provided to the Select Committee, press reports, and statements by you and your organization, Women for America First (“WFAF”), you participated in the organization and sponsorship of the rally held on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021, in support of then-president Trump and his allegations of election fraud.”

The committee is seeking to learn about the organization’s involvement with the White House, writing in the subpoenas: “According to press reports, you, and others working with you and WFAF to organize the January 6th rally, collectively communicated with President Trump, White House officials including Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and others about the rally and other events planned to coincide with the certification of the 2020 Electoral College results.”

All individuals who the committee sent subpoenas to have been asked to comply with document requests by October 13, followed by a closed-door deposition later in the month.

House Select Chairman Bennie Thompson said in a statement announcing the latest subpoenas that the panel is “investigating the facts, circumstances, and causes of the January 6th attack and issues relating to the peaceful transfer of power, in order to identify and evaluate lessons learned and to recommend to the House and its relevant committees corrective laws, policies, procedures rules, or regulations.”

“The inquiry includes examination of how various individuals and entities coordinated their activities leading up to the events of January 6, 2021,” the Mississippi Democrat continued.

The subpoenas issued Wednesday build on the volumes of documents the committee has already requested from government agencies and the National Archives, which serves as the custodian of the Trump administration White House records, relating to the recruitment, preparation and coordination of the rallies leading up to and on January 6. Its request includes documents from a list of 40 individuals who played a role in the planning and organization of the rallies in the lead up to them.

Thompson has said individuals who have been charged in relation to their participation in the riot could also provide important information to the committee.

“I think a lot of those individuals who have been charged by the authorities, potentially, could work with us on crafting the facts and circumstances as to why they came to Washington. I think they’ll have significant information that the committee could benefit from,” Thompson said Monday.

Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria of Virginia, who serves on the select committee, had said following a committee planning meeting earlier this week to expect more subpoenas in the future as the committee continues to build out its investigation.

“We want to hear from a lot of people in order to do a thorough investigation,” Luria said. “So you can anticipate that there’ll be a steady drumbeat of additional subpoenas and requests for information.”

The congresswoman said she hopes the panel will pursue questions about the role the “weaponization of social media and spread of disinformation” by different groups had in the attack. Members of the public, she said, can provide information to the committee through its tip line, which she said has been helpful in gleaning new information.

Connecting those dots has emerged as a priority for the committee as it continues to ramp up its probe and investigators are actively working to analyze piles of data to help piece together a clear picture of how the attack unfolded, sources familiar with the process told CNN.

This effort is intertwined with the committee’s pursuit of witness testimony and other relevant documents, which altogether likely marks the single biggest congressional investigation of its kind in history, the sources said.

The latest batch of subpoenas comes just shy of a week after the committee issued its first four subpoenas to close aides and allies of former President Donald Trump.

Former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, former deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino, former adviser Steve Bannon and Kash Patel, a former chief of staff to then-acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller who had also served as an aide to Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, all have until October 7 to fulfill the committee’s document requests. The former Trump staffers have also been requested to appear before the committee for private depositions in October.

In a statement to CNN, Patel would not say whether he had responded to the committee but said, “I will continue to tell the truth about my time in service.”

As of this week, none of the four had responded directly to the committee, according to Thompson, who has said the panel is “not holding the opinion that they will cooperate.”

Last week, Thompson told CNN that criminal contempt “is on the table” if those subpoenaed don’t cooperate, and there is “no reluctance at all” among members of the panel to consider it if necessary.

“Our problem is we can’t wait forever for people to talk. We have to get information. So, this is a matter of cutting the time allotted for the committee to do its work to get it done,” the chairman said.

Not everyone being sought out by the committee has been withholding.

Thompson told CNN that that some of the individuals the committee wants to hear from are providing information voluntarily.

“Some people have contacted us, who want to come and talk voluntarily, who worked for the administration. So, there’s no reason to issue a subpoena. We just have to get the information they have included in our body of work and go from there,” he said.

Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the select committee and one of two Republicans serving on the panel, told CNN that the committee has already met with some of those individuals.

“In some cases we are,” Cheney said of meetings with people willing to volunteer information about the attack or the days leading up to it.

Rep. Pete Aguilar, a California Democrat, said the committee members “feel good about the direction we’re going.”

“And, you know, we’ve said all along that we’ll continue to make progress and I think we are, on the investigative side,” he said.

This story has been updated with additional details Wednesday.

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