The Jan. 6 Committee made public ten subpoenas it issued this week, signaling a new direction for the probe: the far-right, its fever swamps, and its paramilitaries.
The panel is casting a wide net in its investigation of the Jan. 6 insurrection, taking it to include the Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen and attempts by President Trump — starting in spring 2020 — to subvert the results.
The subpoenas issued this week mark a level of progress in the investigation: they cite and reveal information that the panel has gathered in the course of its probe.
But they also reveal where Congress is looking next. In this case, it’s the assortment of far-right provocateurs like Alex Jones and Roger Stone that breathed life into the Big Lie, MAGA operatives who helped stage the rally on the ellipse on Jan. 6 at which Trump spoke, and organizations like the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys whose members were willing to use violence to block the certification of Joe Biden’s win.
Here’s what the committee wants to learn from each.
The panel wants to learn about Jones’s role in organizing the Jan. 6 Women for America First rally at which then-President Trump spoke.
The organizers reportedly denied Jones a slot at the Jan. 6 event, but, at Trump’s request, he spoke at an event at Freedom Plaza held the previous day.
The panel wants to know about planning for both events, and any involvement that Jones may have had in raising funds for them. He reportedly facilitated a large contribution from Publix heiress Julie Fancelli to the events.
Jones also used his Infowars platform to promote the Big Lie, memorably describing Trump’s tweet that Jan. 6 would “be wild” as “one of the most historic events in American history.” The panel is interested in learning the details of Jones’s support for the Big Lie.
According to the subpoena, the committee is interested in Stone’s activities in D.C. on Jan. 5 and 6.
The GOP provocateur was in Washington and attended the Jan. 5 Freedom Plaza rally, and had been scheduled to speak at the Jan. 6 ellipse rally.
Of interest to investigators is Stone’s participation in those two events, but also that he reportedly used Oath Keeper members as security guards while in the Capitol. Stone also said that he was invited to “lead a march to the Capitol” on Jan. 6 — another statement of interest to the panel.
Budowich, who is now Trump’s spokesman, played a behind-the-scenes role in organizing the Jan. 6 ellipse rally, according to the subpoena.
The panel is interested in a $200,000 contribution that Budowich allegedly steered to an unnamed 501(c)4 non-profit, in service of a “social media and radio advertising campaign” promoting the Jan. 6 rally.
The money could help answer questions about who funded the rally and the effort to promote it.
Stockton, a We Build The Wall member who helped organize rallies in support of the Big Lie after the 2020 election, spoke with the committee earlier this month.
According to the subpoena, the panel wants records from Stockton as well as a deposition about his involvement in planning the rallies, which included Women for America First’s ellipse event.
Stockton had an inside look at how Women For America First officials may have communicated with the White House, and how the same WFAF officials may have also been in touch with event speakers like Roger Stone and Alex Jones; themselves, in turn, potentially in touch with members of the crowd on Jan. 6 who breached the Capitol.
Stockton himself reportedly warned that the rally could turn unsafe before Jan. 6, a warning that one WFAF leader said she would communicate to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
The panel is also interested in Stockton’s fiance, Jennifer Lawrence.
Along with Stockton, Lawrence worked on post-election rallies aimed at subverting the result. Three days before the insurrection, Lawrence tweeted that “we have been marching all around the country for you Mr. President.”
“Now we will bring it to DC on Jan 6 and PROUDLY stand beside you!” the tweet read.
Video of the insurrection showed Proud Boys members taking the initiative in storming the Capitol, attacking Capitol police officers and breaching the building itself.
The panel wants to know how the organization provided support for former President Trump’s attempt to subvert the election.
The subpoena notes that 34 members of the group have been charged in connection with the riot, and that indictments have noted extensive efforts at “prior planning and coordination.”
Tarrio, the Proud Boys leader, never made it to the fight on Jan. 6 itself.
Rather, he was arrested on a federal indictment on Jan. 4, related to his burning of a Black Lives Matter flag from a D.C. church at a pro-Big Lie rally in December 2020.
His subpoena mentions this, and alludes to the fact that “Proud Boys leaders advanced pointed, specific calls to violence related to the November 3, 2020 election leading up to January 6, 2021.”
It also quotes from a December 29 Parler message that Tarrio posted, as lawmakers continue to search for evidence of pre-planning and coordination with others.
“We will not be wearing our traditional Black and Yellow,” Tarrio wrote. “We will be incognito and will spread across downtown DC in smaller teams….who knows…we might dress in all BLACK for the occasion.”
The committee is focusing on the Oath Keepers as a source of evidence that the attack was planned and coordinated in advance.
Oath Keepers traveled to the Capitol with firearms, body armor, and radio equipment, federal indictments have said.
The subpoena describes statements from Oath Keeper leaders that the group would use violence to help Trump stay in office, and also notes that members of the group were bodyguards for Roger Stone. The panel is asking for records and a deposition relating to all of these issues.
It’s Stewart Rhodes who helmed the Oath Keepers throughout the Big Lie and Jan. 6, and it’s he who repeated that, according to the subpoena, the group would “engage in violence to ensure their preferred election outcome.”
Rhodes stated multiple times during the run-up to Jan. 6 that violence would be necessary to ensure Biden would be prevented from taking office. In December, he called for Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act — an idea under discussion in the White House at the time.
And, on Jan. 4, Rhodes called on Oath Keepers to “fight to defeat the enemies foreign and domestic who are attempting a coup, through the massive vote fraud and related attacks on our Republic,” saying that they should come to D.C. on Jan. 6. Rhodes also said that the group would be providing security for multiple events and VIPs on Jan. 5 and 6.
Beyond that, of interest to the committee is that Rhodes stayed in contact with group members as they breached the Capitol building on Jan. 6. In one exchange cited by prosecutors, he posted a photo taken by a group member at the Capitol doors that was sent to him.
First Amendment Praetorian
Last but not least is First Amendment Praetorian. Founded in 2020 by veteran and author Robert Patrick Lewis, the group aims to provide muscle against cancellation, to provide security for those at risk of what they see as leftist attacks.
According to a permit, the group provided security for the Jan. 5 rally at Freedom Plaza, where Alex Jones spoke.
The panel wants to learn what relationship the group had with the Oath Keepers. Lewis said on Jan. 7 that his group’s members wear body cameras — the House mentions that fact in its subpoena.
The panel also expressed interest in the group’s apparent foreknowledge of violence on Jan. 6, and how it reacted once that violence began.
“Today is the day that true battles begin,” the group tweeted on Jan. 6, as people were first breaching the Capitol.