Investigators summoned five more allies of former President Donald J. Trump as they dug further into the planning and financing of rallies before the Jan. 6 attack.
The political operative Roger J. Stone Jr. greeting supporters at a Trump rally in Washington on Jan. 5, the day before the Capitol riot.Credit…Tasos Katopodis/Getty ImagesNov. 22, 2021Updated 8:24 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON — The House committee investigating the Capitol attack issued five new subpoenas on Monday, focusing on allies of former President Donald J. Trump who helped draw crowds to Washington before the riot on Jan. 6, including the political operative Roger J. Stone Jr. and the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
The subpoenas, which come after the committee has interviewed more than 200 witnesses, indicate that investigators are intent on learning the details of the planning and financing of rallies that drew Mr. Trump’s supporters to Washington based on his lies of a stolen election, fueling the violence that engulfed Congress and delayed the formalization of President Biden’s victory.
“We need to know who organized, planned, paid for and received funds related to those events, as well as what communications organizers had with officials in the White House and Congress,” said Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the chairman of the committee.
Mr. Stone promoted his attendance at the rallies on Jan. 5 and 6, and solicited support to pay for security through the website stopthesteal.org. While in Washington, he used members of the Oath Keepers as personal security guards; at least one of them has been indicted on charges that he was involved in the Capitol attack.
In a statement, Mr. Stone said he had not yet been served with the subpoena and denied any involvement with the violence.
“I have said time and time again that I had no advance knowledge of the events that took place at the Capitol on that day,” he said.
Mr. Jones helped organize the rally at the Ellipse near the White House before the riot — including by facilitating a donation from Julie Jenkins Fancelli, the heiress to the Publix Super Markets fortune — to provide what he described as “80 percent” of the funding, the House committee said. Mr. Jones has said that White House officials told him that he was to lead a march to the Capitol, where Mr. Trump would speak, according to the committee.
Mr. Stone and Mr. Jones were among the group of Trump allies meeting in and around the Willard Intercontinental Hotel near the White House the day before the riot.
Mr. Stone, a longtime Trump adviser, was seen flashing his signature Nixon victory sign to supporters as members of the Oath Keepers protected him. He was also photographed on Jan. 5 with Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser who has also been subpoenaed. But Mr. Stone has claimed that he was leaving town as rioters stormed the Capitol.
Mr. Stone said he had decided against a plan to “lead a march” from the Ellipse to the Capitol on Jan. 6, according to a video posted on social media.
Mr. Jones conducted an interview of Mr. Flynn from the Willard on Jan. 5 in which the men spread the false narrative of a stolen election. Mr. Jones was then seen among the crowd of Mr. Trump’s supporters the next day, amplifying false the claims but also urging the crowd to be peaceful. Among those who marched alongside him to the Capitol was Ali Alexander, a promoter of the “Stop the Steal” effort who has also been issued a subpoena, the committee said.
“The White House told me three days before, ‘We’re going to have you lead the march,’” Mr. Jones said on his internet show the day after the riot. “Trump will tell people, ‘Go, and I’m going to meet you at the Capitol.’”
The panel is also demanding documents and testimony from Dustin Stockton and his fiancée, Jennifer L. Lawrence, who assisted in organizing a series of rallies after the election advancing false claims about its outcome.
Mr. Stockton was concerned that the rally at the Ellipse would lead to a march to the Capitol that would mean “possible danger,” which he said “felt unsafe,” the committee said. These concerns were escalated to Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff.
Understand the Claim of Executive Privilege in the Jan. 6. InquiryCard 1 of 8
A key issue yet untested. Donald Trump’s power as former president to keep information from his White House secret has become a central issue in the House’s investigation of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Amid an attempt by Mr. Trump to keep personal records secret and the indictment of Stephen K. Bannon for contempt of Congress, here’s a breakdown of executive privilege:
What is executive privilege? It is a power claimed by presidents under the Constitution to prevent the other two branches of government from gaining access to certain internal executive branch information, especially confidential communications involving the president or among his top aides.
What is Trump’s claim? Former President Trump has filed a lawsuit seeking to block the disclosure of White House files related to his actions and communications surrounding the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. He argues that these matters must remain a secret as a matter of executive privilege.
Is Trump’s privilege claim valid? The constitutional line between a president’s secrecy powers and Congress’s investigative authority is hazy. Though a judge rejected Mr. Trump’s bid to keep his papers secret, it is likely that the case will ultimately be resolved by the Supreme Court.
Is executive privilege an absolute power? No. Even a legitimate claim of executive privilege may not always prevail in court. During the Watergate scandal in 1974, the Supreme Court upheld an order requiring President Richard M. Nixon to turn over his Oval Office tapes.
May ex-presidents invoke executive privilege? Yes, but courts may view their claims with less deference than those of current presidents. In 1977, the Supreme Court said Nixon could make a claim of executive privilege even though he was out of office, though the court ultimately ruled against him in the case.
Is Steve Bannon covered by executive privilege? This is unclear. Mr. Bannon’s case could raise the novel legal question of whether or how far a claim of executive privilege may extend to communications between a president and an informal adviser outside of the government.
What is contempt of Congress? It is a sanction imposed on people who defy congressional subpoenas. Congress can refer contempt citations to the Justice Department and ask for criminal charges. Mr. Bannon has been indicted on contempt charges for refusing to comply with a subpoena that seeks documents and testimony.
Mr. Stockton and Ms. Lawrence are known to be close to Stephen K. Bannon, a former top aide to Mr. Trump, who has been charged with federal crimes after refusing to comply with his subpoena. The couple worked at the conservative website Breitbart and then at Mr. Bannon’s nonprofit seeking private financing to help complete Mr. Trump’s border wall.
A former organizer for the hard-line Gun Owners of America, Mr. Stockton had come to know members of the Three Percenters militia group — and was photographed with several members in military-grade body armor at a rally on Dec. 12.
The committee also issued a subpoena to Taylor Budowich, a spokesman for Mr. Trump, who reportedly solicited nonprofit organizations to conduct a social media and radio advertising campaign encouraging attendance at the rally at the Ellipse and promoting unsupported claims about the election.
The subpoenas issued on Monday require that all five people produce documents and testimony by mid-December. With the exception of Mr. Stone, the recipients did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The committee has issued 40 subpoenas in total, investigating everything from the planning and financing of the “Stop the Steal” effort to Mr. Trump’s every movement as the violence spread on Jan. 6.
The subpoenas come as the committee is struggling to compel some allies of Mr. Trump to comply with its investigation. In addition to the charges against Mr. Bannon, members of the committee have said that they are considering recommending contempt of Congress charges against two other potential witnesses: Mr. Meadows and Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department lawyer involved in Mr. Trump’s plans to overturn the election.
The former president is also fighting the committee’s request for hundreds of White House documents about his actions before and during the attack. Lawyers for House Democrats and the Biden administration argued on Monday that a federal appeals court should permit Congress to see the records.
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