The House select committee investigating last year’s Capitol riot has subpoenaed two aides to Donald Trump Jr. and a former White House staffer who helped craft the speech that former President Donald Trump spoke at his “Stop the Steal” rally shortly before the violence erupted.
The panel said aides Andrew Surabian and Arthur Schwartz were communicating with the 45th president’s eldest son and his now-fiancée Kimberly Guilfoyle – among others – at the time of the rally.
The third recipient of the subpoena, Ross Worthington, helped write the speech in which Trump ‘falsely claimed he had won the 2020 presidential election and urged the crowd to ‘fight much harder’ “and to ‘stop the theft,'” according to the Committee.
The panel is seeking records and testimony from the three about the planning and preparations for the Ellipse rally that preceded the capitol storming.
“We have reason to believe that the people we have subpoenaed today have relevant information and we expect them to join the more than 340 people who have spoken with the select committee as we continue to investigate this attack on our democracy and ensure nothing like it ever happens again,” committee chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said in a statement.
The subpoenas indicate that the panel is focusing on members of the Trump family in addition to key members of his administration.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), one of two Republicans on the panel, said earlier this month that the committee had “first-hand testimony” that Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, the had twice pleaded to recall his supporters amid the chaos.
“We know that as he sat in the dining room next to the Oval Office, members of his staff were pleading with him to go on TV, to tell people to stop. We know Leader McCarthy was begging him to do it,” Cheney told ABC News’ This Week on Jan. 2, referring to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
Last month, Cheney read texts obtained from former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows that show communications between him and Trump Jr. that day.
“He needs to condemn this s— as soon as possible. capitol police tweet not enough,” Trump Jr. sent to Meadows at one point.
The then-president’s son also urged his father to speak out about the violence from the Oval Office, saying “it went too far and got out of control.”
In letters to Schwartz and Surabian, the committee said it wanted to know more about their contacts before and on Jan. 6 with a host of people associated with the former president, including Trump Jr., Guilfoyle, adviser Katrina Pierson , spokesperson Taylor Budowich. and Republican fundraiser Caroline Wren.
In addition to providing the committee with their records, the three were asked to sit for depositions – Schwartz on January 31, Surabian on February 1 and Worthington on February 2.
In a statement, Surabian’s attorney, Daniel Bean, said his client would cooperate with the committee “within reason” but added that “we are puzzled as to why Mr. Surabian is being subpoenaed. in the first place”.
“He had nothing to do with the events that took place in the capital [sic] that day, no involvement in organizing the rally that preceded it and was not in the pay of the Trump campaign as of November 15, 2020,” said Bean, who went on to note that Surabian helps lead a super PAC that seeks to unseat Cheney in this year’s Republican primary.
“As a result, we believe this is nothing more than a harassment of the committee’s political opponents and is anti-American to the core,” Bean concluded.