The House committee investigating the violent January 6 insurgency on Capitol Hill, with its latest round of subpoenas, may find out to what extent former President Donald Trump, his campaign and the White House were involved in the planning of the rally – which had been presented as a popular demonstration – which preceded the riot.
The 11 subpoenas sent out this week went to people who organized or worked at the rally at the Ellipse where Trump encouraged the crowd to march to the Capitol and told them “You will never take back our country with weakness. You have to be strong, and you have to be strong. “
Most of the organizers had worked on Trump’s presidential campaign or in his administration and could provide new details on how the rally that launched the violent attack unfolded.
The committee’s requests included documents relating to the planning, funding and participation in the event at the Ellipse, which was held to protest the November election results, as well as the events leading up to it, including a bus tour and walks around Washington in November and December. The committee said it had also requested communications with Trump administration officials and lawmakers, which could show if and how involved government officials were in planning for the day.
One of those subpoenaed, whose company was hired to provide security for the event that day, told The Associated Press that he plans to cooperate.
“We fully intend to comply with the House select committee”, said Lyndon Brentnall, who heads RMS protection services in Florida. “As far as we are concerned, we provided security at a legally authorized event, organized in conjunction with the US Secret Service and the park police.”
It was not clear whether the others would hand over documents by October 13 or testify in depositions scheduled from late October to early November, as the committee requested. The AP sent emails and texts, called phone lists or sent messages to online accounts for each person subpoenaed, but only Brentnall provided comments.
Brentnall said personnel who worked with him on security during the event were vetted by Secret Service and park police. Their names, phone numbers and social security numbers were submitted in advance, he said.
“We literally handled the security of the event and the transportation of the VIPs from the hotel to the event, and then from the event to the hotel. That’s literally all we did ”, he told AP.
Two people familiar with the planning of the event told the AP that the White House coordinated with the event’s organizers after Trump learned of plans for the rally in mid-December. They were not allowed to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Almost everyone subpoenaed was on the permit for the event, which was issued to Women for America First, a pro-Trump group rooted in the tea party movement. Three people currently or previously involved in the group have been subpoenaed: Amy Kremer, her daughter, Kylie Jane Kremer, and Cindy Chafian.
Chafian had obtained a permit for Women for America First for a December 12 rally at Freedom Plaza that caught Trump’s attention. Trump drew huge cheers from the crowd below as the presidential helicopter, Marine One, passed over the rally en route to the Army-Navy football game in New York City.
In a few days, several groups that had gathered under the aegis of “Stop the flight” have started planning their next move, this time related to certifying the Jan. 6 vote in Congress, according to coalition member Kimberly Fletcher, founder of Moms for America. Fletcher told the AP in January that the groups started planning around mid-December. Trump quickly got wind of the plan.
“Big demonstration in Washington on January 6”, Trump tweeted to his millions of followers on December 19. “Be there, will be wild!”
“When the president said, ‘Come to Washington,’ then that… just whooh! “ Fletcher recalled to the AP in January. The AP reported at the time that many of the people listed in the staff positions on the permit for the Jan.6 rally were on the Trump campaign payroll or had close ties to the White House. Seven of those summoned had worked for the Trump campaign, and at least three had previously worked in the Trump administration.
As Trump’s interest sparked the Jan. 6 event, people closely linked to his presidential campaign got involved, including Caroline Wren, national finance consultant for Trump Victory, a campaign-led joint fundraising organization. re-election of Trump and the RNC. Wren is one of the people summoned to appear by the committee.
She and her Texas-based consulting firm, Bluebonnet Fundraising, received $ 892,000 between April 2017 and November 2020 from Trump’s presidential campaign, the Republican National Committee and Trump Victory, according to Federal Election Commission records.
The former president was not on the rally’s original schedule, but soon after New Years Day it became clear that he would attend in person, recalled those involved in organizing the events on the 5. and January 6, including Fletcher.
With Trump almost certain to be the keynote speaker, who would share the stage with him sparked heated discussions among rally organizers and those close to the White House, according to people familiar with the discussions. They were not allowed to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Katrina Pierson, Trump’s longtime ally and presidential campaign adviser, has been recruited to coordinate with the White House and put together a list of speakers who would share the stage with Trump. The former president wanted a small group – members of Congress, family members, and people affiliated with Women for America First. Pierson was close to the Kremers, who were fighting with Wren for control of the event.
Pierson is one of two people subpoenaed this week who were not on the final permit issued on Jan.5. The other was Chafian. FEC records show that the Trump campaign paid Pierson $ 10,000 every two weeks from September 2019 through December 2020.
Other people subpoenaed included Maggie Mulvaney, a niece of Trump’s former grand aide Mick Mulvaney. It appeared on an attachment to the permit as “VIP Chef”. Mulvaney was the director of financial operations for the Trump campaign in 2020, receiving $ 5,000 every two weeks until mid-November. Her LinkedIn profile describes her as the external affairs manager for the Trump campaign.
Maggie Mulvaney also now works as a senior advisor to Rep. Carol Miller, RW.Va., according to a staff directory on the MP’s website. The AP called the Mulvaney congressional office and sent emails to her personal and congressional email addresses, but did not respond.
Mulvaney is one of at least two rally planners who landed jobs in the United States House of Representatives weeks after the deadly attack ransacked halls and offices of Congress. Another, Kiran Menon, listed as an operations associate at the Jan.6 rally, was on the Trump campaign payroll from July to November 2020. Menon is not among those summoned to appear by the committee. According to congressional directories and LinkedIn, Menon got a job in February with Republican Rep from Ohio Jim Jordan.
Menon passed on a request for comment to Jordan spokesman Russell Dye, who called him “a talented and dedicated member of our staff who played no part in the events at the Capitol” And one “Exceptional young curator”. Dye said in a statement that it was irresponsible and dangerous for AP to print Menon’s name.
Hannah Salem Stone and Megan Powers were also subpoenaed this week, both of whom served in the Trump administration and worked at various points in the Trump campaign. Stone was the rally “Operations manager for logistics and communication”, listed under the name “Hannah Salem.” She said during a recent security of events podcast that she was the president’s special assistant and director of the White House press advance under Trump, leaving in February 2020. FEC files show that ‘she and her company, Salem Strategies, worked for the Trump Campaign until 2020.
Powers began working for the Trump campaign before Trump announced his presidential candidacy in June 2015. She then worked at the White House and NASA. As of January 2021, Powers was the director of operations for the Trump campaign, according to her LinkedIn profile, and FEC records show Powers being paid $ 8,500 every two weeks. She was listed on the license as “Responsible for operations for planning and guidance” for the January 6 rally. In February, several months after Trump lost the 2020 election to President Joe Biden, the pro-Trump PAC Make America Great Again paid Powers more than $ 19,000 for administrative advice, campaign financial records show. .
Two people involved with management and production company Event Strategies were also subpoenaed: Tim Unes, founder and chairman of the company, and Justin Caporale, former senior associate of First Lady Melania Trump.
Caporale, listed on the permit as the event’s project manager, was on the Trump campaign payroll for most of 2020 and was earning $ 7,500 every two weeks, according to FEC records. Unes was the “manager” for the rally, according to the license papers.
Unes has long-standing ties to Trump, a connection he highlights on his company’s website. Unes and Event Strategies were paid more than $ 3.4 million by the Trump campaign, Trump Victory and the Republican National Committee for advisory, audiovisual and event production services between January 2016 and December 2020, according to campaign financial records.