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House January 6 committee subpoenas Rudy Giuliani and other Trump allies

The House select committee investigating the January 6 assault on U.S. Capitol on Tuesday issued subpoenas to former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and three others who challenged the 2020 election results. 

In addition to Giuliani, the committee is demanding documents and testimony from Jenna Ellis and Sidney Powell, two lawyers who worked to promote the president’s false claims about the election, as well as Boris Epshteyn, a former Trump White House aide.

“The four individuals we’ve subpoenaed today advanced unsupported theories about election fraud, pushed efforts to overturn the election results, or were in direct contact with the former President about attempts to stop the counting of electoral votes,” the panel’s chairman Bennie Thompson said in a statement. 

All four witnesses were asked to turn over documents by February 1, and appear for depositions on February 8. 

The four figures participated in a November 19, 2020 press conference that featured outlandish claims the election had been stolen and that Trump had won in a “landslide.”

RNC Trump Presser with Giuliani
Rudolph Giuliani, attorney for President Donald Trump, conducts a news conference at the Republican National Committee on lawsuits regarding the outcome of the 2020 presidential election on Thursday, November 19, 2020. 

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images


But the batch of subpoenas also shows how the committee – which has spoken with nearly 400 witnesses –  is now closing in on the former president’s inner circle.

In the weeks following the November election, Giuliani was among the loudest voices promoting Trump’s false claims of electoral fraud and meeting with state legislators to persuade them to ignore the 2020 results. But according to a letter addressed to Giuliani, the committee also believes from witness testimony that the former New York City mayor urged Trump in December 2020 to direct the seizure of voting machines across the country, even after being told the Department of Homeland Security lacked that authority. Since the 2020 election, Rudy Giuliani’s law license has been suspended in New York and Washington D.C.

Meanwhile, the committee is interested in asking Ellis about two publicly reported memos she prepared and circulated after the election, claiming that former Vice President Mike Pence could delay the counting of certain states’ electoral results.

In a letter addressed to Powell, Thompson said the committee is seeking evidence the former federal prosecutor relied on promoting baseless allegations of electoral fraud. The letter also cited public reporting that Powell may have also been involved in efforts to urge Trump to direct the seizure of voting machines.

Epshteyn is of interest to the committee in part because of reports that he was at meetings held at the Willard Hotel in Washington in the days leading up to January 6, where Giuliani and other Trump allies met and coordinated as part of the effort to stop the certification of President Biden’s victory. In a letter to Epshteyn, Thompson also pointed to a report that said Epshteyn participated in a call with Trump on the morning of January 6.

In a statement on Twitter on Tuesday, Epshteyn called it “no surprise whatsoever” that he was subpoenaed by the “January 6th Unselect Committee.” He continued with his baseless claim that he is “happy to share” information about “overwhelming fraud that permeated the 2020 election in Arizona, Wisconsin, Georgia, Pennsylvania and beyond.”

Thompson said last week that the committee has issued about 85 subpoenas, including Trump’s allies, former White House officials, campaign aides and individuals involved in the planning of the rally outside the White House before the Capitol building came under siege. Two top Trump allies, Bannon and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, have been held in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with subpoenas, and the Justice Department has charged Bannon. Both said they are following instructions from Trump, who has claimed executive privilege. 

The House select committee, created by Speaker Nancy Pelosi last year, is investigating the January 6 attack, when thousands of Trump supporters descended on the Capitol as Congress counted the electoral votes, a largely ceremonial final step affirming Mr. Biden’s victory. Lawmakers were sent fleeing amid the riot, which led to the deaths of five people and the arrests of hundreds more. Trump, who encouraged his supporters to “walk over” to the Capitol during the Stop the Steal rally, was impeached by the House one week later for inciting the riot but was later acquitted by the Senate.

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