Meet The First Trump Cronies Subpoenaed By The Jan. 6 Committee

A Who's Who Guide To The Jan. 6 Probe's Latest Phase
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: President Donald Trump speaks at the "Stop The Steal" Rally on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Trump supporters gathered in the nation's capital today to protest the ratification of P... WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: President Donald Trump speaks at the "Stop The Steal" Rally on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Trump supporters gathered in the nation's capital today to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory over President Trump in the 2020 election. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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September 24, 2021 1:37 p.m.

The House select committee investigating the Capitol insurrection has issued its first batch of subpoenas, homing in on further unearthing the White House’s role in the Jan. 6 attack on Congress.

The panel released the witness subpoenas last night, demanding documents from and interviews with Steve Bannon, Mark Meadows, Kash Patel, and Dan Scavino.

All four were close to former President Trump, and are reported to have played key roles in promoting the Big Lie before Jan. 6, egging Trump on before the insurrection, overseeing the response as the attack took place, or as witnesses to the day’s events.

The subpoenas come as the Jan. 6 committee plows into reams of documents it has begun to receive from federal agencies, and as it plots strategy for how to communicate its findings to the public this fall.

A committee aide likened the approach this week in a conversation with TPM to that of Trump’s first impeachment, where transcribed interviews were followed by public hearings.

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Below is a who’s who guide to the initial targets of the Committee and how they are potentially related to the attack.

Mark Meadows

(Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

Role On Jan. 6: White House Chief Of Staff

Vantage Point: By Trump’s side throughout Jan 6

What the Committee Wants To Know:

  • What did Meadows see Trump do at the White House as the day progressed?
  • What role did the White House play in efforts to contest the election results pre-Jan. 6 and delay the counting of electoral votes?
  • What does Meadows know about how the Jan. 6 Stop the Steal rally was planned?

What We Already Know:

  • Meadows communicated with organizers of the Jan. 6 rally on the ellipse.
  • He spent the day of the insurrection by Trump’s side, reportedly arranging the former president’s public reaction to the attack.
  • Meadows tried to overturn Biden’s win by pushing DOJ to investigate wacky conspiracy theories about the election.

What Meadows Has Already Said:

  • He’s dismissed any suggestion that Trump played a role in instigating the attack.
  • Meadows maintains that Trump wanted Jan. 6 to be “peaceful and patriotic.”

Steve Bannon

<<enter caption here>> on May 22, 2018 in Prague, Czech Republic.
(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Role On Jan. 6: Former Trump adviser and conservative podcast host

Vantage Point: Egging Trump and members of Congress on in the days before the attack

What the Committee Wants To Know:

  • What happened at a Jan. 5 meeting between Bannon and members of Congress at D.C.’s Willard Hotel?
  • What did Bannon and Trump discuss in the week leading up to the insurrection?
  • Why did Bannon say on Jan. 5 that “all hell is going to break loose tomorrow?”

What We Already Know:

  • Bannon met with far-right members of Congress on Jan. 5 at D.C.’s Willard Hotel to persuade them to block the vote certification the next day, according to Peril by the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.
  • Bannon told Trump one week before the insurrection that Jan. 6 would be a “reckoning” aimed at “kill[ing] the Biden presidency in the crib.”
  • The former Trump campaign chairman pushed for state legislatures to overturn Biden’s victory before Jan. 6.

What Bannon Has Already Said:

  • On Jan. 5, he said that “all hell will break loose” on Jan. 6, and pressed Pence to reject Biden electors.
  • This week, Bannon confirmed reporting in a recent book that he told Trump Jan. 6 would “kill the Biden presidency in the crib.”
  • Bannon continues on his podcast to push the Big Lie that the election was stolen.

Kash Patel

(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Keisha Brown/Wikimedia Commons)

Role On Jan. 6: Chief of staff to Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller

Vantage Point: Present in the Pentagon for the Trump administration’s response to the attack

What Committee Wants To Know:

  • What role did Patel play in the White House and Pentagon’s plans for the peaceful transfer of power?
  • What discussions did senior DOD officials have regarding security for the Capitol on Jan. 6?
  • What other positions in government was Patel considered for during the transition period?

What We Already Know:

  • Trump appointed Patel to his position at the Pentagon on Nov. 10, days after his election.
  • Patel was on the phone on Jan. 6 with congressional leaders who were begging for help to respond to the attack, he said on Fox News this week.
  • He was involved in DOD planning for Jan. 6 and was reportedly on the phone with Meadows “all day” on Jan. 6.

What Patel Has Already Said:

  • Patel has blamed law enforcement failures as the sole place to seek accountability for the attack, and accused congressional inquiries in July of ignoring it.
  • He said on Fox News this week that he told Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Jan. 6 that “my focus is on defending the Capitol Building and defending the Constitution and not allowing armored personnel carriers, which was your request to float down the streets of D.C., because the Capitol Police amd the F.B.I. failed their duties on January 6th.”
  • Patel has denied that there were any “instructions from the White House for a coup.”

Dan Scavino

(Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Role On Jan. 6: White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications

Vantage Point: With Trump in the lead-up to the insurrection and on Jan. 6

What the Committee Wants To Know:

  • What was former President Trump’s communications strategy leading up to Jan. 6?
  • What did Scavino see Trump do as Jan. 6 progressed?
  • What unused videos and tweets that Trump recorded and drafted on Jan. 6 may exist?

What We Already Know:

  • Scavino was in charge of Trump’s Twitter account before the former president was banned.
  • The communications staffer was with Trump on Jan. 5 as he sought to convince members of Congress to block the certification, according to Woodward and Costa’s Peril.
  • Scavino tweeted from the White House on Jan. 6 and promoted the Stop the Steal rally, the panel said, citing his tweets on the day.

What Scavino Has Already Said:

  • He’s continued to act as a conduit between Trump and the public.
  • Scavino has played a similar role as before in Trump’s attempts to return to power.

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