UPDATE, APRIL 7:
The House has voted for criminal contempt of Congress charges against Peter Navarro (pictured) and Dan Scavino, former aides of Donald Trump, over their defiance of subpoenas from the House Select Committee investigating the January 2021 attack on the US Capitol.
The vote of 220-203, referring the contempt charges to the Justice Department, was mainly along party lines. The Republicans who voted with the Democrats — Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois — are members of the select committee.
Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, a member of the committee, said, “We have two people who are flagrantly, brazenly defying the authority of the House of Representatives of the United States….[They have] nothing but excuses for their noncompliance — excuses you would not accept from a teenage child.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California proclaimed that the committee investigation is a “political show trial”: “Democrats are using the power of the federal government to jail their political opponents.”
Contempt of Congress can lead to up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $100,000.
Former Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows have also been referred by the House to the Justice Department. Only Bannon has been indicted.
UPDATE, FEB 10:
The House select committee on the Capitol Attack subpoenas Donald Trump’s White House advisor Peter Navarro (pictured), who had a central role in the plot to block the Congressional certification of President-elect Joe Biden.
In his book and in his interviews, Navarro has acknowledged his involvement in the scheming — alongside former Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon — in the Willard Hotel “headquarters” before Trump’s speech outside the White House and the attack, as legislators gathered to confirm Biden’s Electoral College victory. The plot involved Vice President Mike Pence, as the formal chair of the gathering, disqualifying Biden electors from several key states; however, Pence refused to participate.
Committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi noted Navarro “hasn’t been shy about his role in efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, and has even discussed the former President’s support for those plans”.
Navarro said on Wednesday that he will not comply with the subpoena, invoking Trump’s attempt to claim executive privilege.
Trump has commanded former staff not to testify or hand over documents. Legal experts have said that he is unlikely to prevail in court cases over executive privilege, as only a sitting President can make the assertion. Biden has waived any claim.
The Supreme Court ruled last month that Trump’s claim did not hold, forcing him to provide documents to the select committee.
In an e-mail, Navarro insulted Pence and his legislative assistant Marc Short, who has testified to the Committee, and Republican Committee members Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. He also berated former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, even though Meadows faces contempt of Congress charges for refusing to testify.
Pence betrayed Trump. Marc Short is a Koch Network dog. Meadows is a fool and a coward. Cheney and Kinzinger are useful idiots for Nancy Pelosi and the woke Left.
As part of the plot, Navarro wrote a 36-page report with unsupported claims of election fraud. He asseerted that he had “thousands of affidavits” from Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani and former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik.
The House select committee noted that Navarro’s assertions have been “discredited in public reporting, by state officials, and by courts”.
Navarro sent a report to all Republican members of Congress and declared that more than 100 backed his scheme.
On January 6, 147 Republican members of Congress objected to certification of at least one state’s electors for Biden.
UPDATE, JAN 29:
The House select committee on the Capitol Attack subpoenas 14 “fake Trump electors”.
The committee is seeking testimony and documents from two pro-Trump electors from each of seven key states, all of which were won by Joe Biden in November 2020.
The Trump camp plotted to block Biden’s inauguration by replacing the legally-chosen electors with their own slate. They initially pursued this through pressure on state legislatures and Secretaries of State.
Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani oversaw the scheme. Another Trump attorney, Cleta Mithcell, circulated a 21-page memorandum explaining how the GOP-controlled state legislatures and Congress could recognized Trump’s electors in place of Biden’s.
Among those subpoenaed are David Shafer, the current chair of the Georgia Republican Party; Michael McDonald, the chair of the Nevada Republican Party; and Michigan’s Republican Natonal Committee representative Kathy Berden.
Committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi said:
We believe the individuals we have subpoenaed today have information about how these so-called alternate electors met and who was behind that scheme. We encourage them to cooperate with the Select Committee’s investigation to get answers about January 6th for the American people and help ensure nothing like that day ever happens again.
UPDATE, JAN 21:
The House select committee on the Capitol Attack requests cooperation from Ivanka Trump, amid mounting evidence of attempts to get Donald Trump to denounce the assault by his supporters on January 6, 2021.
The committee wrote Ivanka Trump that it had evidence of multiple White House officials — and of her — appealing to Trump to halt the violent attempt to block the Congressional certification of President-elect Joe Biden.
Committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi added, “Apparently, certain White House staff believed that a live, unscripted press appearance by the president in the midst of the Capitol Hill violence could have made the situation worse.”
Witnesses have already testified to the committee about the attempted intervention by Ivanka Trump as well as White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, and Fox TV personalities such as Trump’s friend Sean Hannity.
Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, the national security advisor to Vice President Mike Pence, told the committee that he asked for Ivanka Trump’s assistance after her father rejected the initial appeals. He said he had recommended “very strongly” against Donald Trump speaking on live television, because his “press conferences tend to get out of control”.
Kellogg also reinforced the evidence of an attempt by Trump’s inner circle to have Pence, presiding over the Congressional certification, throw out Biden electors and send the decision to the House of Representatives.
Kellogg said he and Ivanka Trump overheard Donald Trump pressuring Pence in a January 6 phone call. As Donald Trump told Pence that he was not “tough enough”, Ivanka Trump turned to the retired general and said, “Mike Pence is a good man.”
A spokesman for Ivanka Trump said:
As the committee already knows, Ivanka did not speak at the January 6 rally. As she publicly stated that day at 3:15 p.m.: “Any security breach or disrespect to our law enforcement is unacceptable. The violence must stop immediately. Please be peaceful.”
UPDATE, JAN 19:
The House select committee on the Capitol Attack subpoenas Rudy Giuliani and other lawyers who amplified Donald Trump’s lies and disinformation but failed to overturn the November 2020 Presidential election.
Testimony and documents are being sought from Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Jenna Ellis, and Boris Epshteyn.
The group and other Trump-linked attorneys lost all but one of more than 60 cases, including an approach to the Supreme Court, filed after President Joe Biden’s victory. Meanwhile, they pushed unsupported conspiracy theories such as a plot by Venezuela, Cuba, “Antifa”, philanthropist George Soros, and Biden to alter the outcome with rigged voting machines.
Giuliani and Powell are being sued by Dominion Voting Systems for defamation, and they also face disbarment over their actions.
The committee said Epshteyn, who promoted claims of election fraud in Nevada, attended planning meetings and was involved in a call with the Trump camp on January 6 about options to block the Congressional certification of President Biden later that day.
Giuliani appeared at Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally outside the White House, which commanded supporters to march on the Capitol and halt the certification. He told the Trumpists to pursue “trial by combat”. As attackers roamed through the building, he called legislators in an attempt to block the completion of the vote confirming Biden’s Electoral College victory.
Committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi said, “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.”
A committee letter to Giuliani cited “credible evidence” that he participated in attempts to “disrupt or delay the certification of the election results”, persuade state legislators to “take steps to overturn the election results”, and urge Trump to order the seizure of voting machines.
UPDATE, JAN 13:
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy refuses to cooperate with the House select committee on the Capitol Attack.
McCarthy announced the refusal on Wednesday, soon after the committee issued a request for an interview.
Committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi wrote McCarthy:
It appears that you may also have discussed with President Trump the potential he would face a censure resolution, impeachment or removal under the 25th Amendment. It also appears that you may have identified other possible options, including President Trump’s immediate resignation from office.
Like GOP Reps. Jim Jordan and Scott Perry, who have been asked for interviews because of their central role in planning with the Trump camp for January 6, McCarthy said the committee is “illegitimate” with the “only objective…to attempt to damage its political opponents.
The GOP leader was in close contact with Donald Trump before, during, and after the Trumpist assault. As hundreds of Trump supporters roamed through the building, threatening to kill Vice President Mike Pence and legislators gathered to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, McCarthy called Trump and appealed for his intervention.
Trump responded with the sneer, “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.” McCarthy said attackers were breaking into his office through the windows, and asked Trump, “Who the fuck do you think you are talking to?”
McCarthy initially criticized the attack and said Trump “bears responsibiity” and challenged “the continued rhetoric that Joe Biden is not the legitimate president”. However, he soon assailed Democrats over the impeachment of Trump for incitement of violence. By the end of January, he was paying tribute with a visit to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, posing for a photo with an exultant Trump and retracting his criticism.
ORIGINAL ENTRY, JAN 11: Former Vice President Mike Pence is reportedly holding out on cooperation with the House select committee investigating the Capitol Attack of January 6, 2021.
“People briefed on the discussions” said Pence’s lawyer has been in talks with the committee over an interview with investigators. However, Pence is indicating that he is still undecided.
The former Vice President has a central position in the events before and during the attack by hundreds of Trumpist supporters. In the run-up to January 6, he was involved in talks among the Trump camp about how to prevent President-elect Joe Biden entering the White House. Ultimately, he blocked a plan — in conjunction with Trump’s lies about a “stolen election” — to deny Congressional certification of Biden’s Electoral College triumph, saying that he would not exceed his authority as chair of the January 6 session.
In a speech outside the White House just before the attack, Trump chided his Vice President — “If Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election,” and called on supporters to march on the Capitol. Attackers called for the execution of Pence and legislators as they sought a safe space in the building.
“People familiar with his thinking” say Pence is increasingly disillusioned with voluntary cooperation, telling aides that the committee has taken a partisan turn with its consideration of criminal referrals to the Justice Department.
The sources said Pence believes the referrals are hoping to hinder Republicans from winning control of Congress in November elections. His calculations may also include a possible run for President in 2024.
Pence is also said to be upset with the committee for portraying cooperation by his staff, seeing this as an attempt to divide his team.
Trump has ordered current and former staff not to provide testimony and documents to the committee. Several — including legislators who worked with the Trump camp on the plans for January 6 — have complied, with former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, ex-chief strategist Steve Bannon, and former Justice Department official Steve Bannon facing contempt of Congress charges.