Bannon was indicted. Meadows was a no-show, more subpoenas: Here's what happened this week in the Jan. 6 investigation
WASHINGTON – Mark Meadows defied Congress, Steve Bannon was indicted and more than a dozen members of Donald Trump's inner circle were subpoenaed.
It was a busy week for the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump.
The House committee is investigating what led to the riot and what unfolded that day, aiming to prevent a recurrence.
The committee is just beginning to ramp up its investigation, subpoenaing this week alone 16 potential key players to the insurrection attempt spurred by the former president and his allies attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
Here's what happened this week, so far:
Monday: Blockbuster subpoenas announced
The committee subpoenaed John Eastman, one of Trump's former lawyers, who wrote a memo to former Vice President Mike Pence about how to challenge the results of the 2020 election.
Eastman’s two-page memo outlined a six-point plan for Pence, in his role as president of the Senate, to set aside Electoral College votes in seven states. Certification of the election would have then moved to the House of Representatives, where a majority of state delegations controlled by Republicans could have handed the victory to Trump, according to the memo.
Pence considered intervening in the certification to be unconstitutional, but Eastman’s memo tried to convince him otherwise.
The committee also subpoenaed five other Trump advisers, including:
- William Stepien, who served as manager of the Trump 2020 reelection campaign. According to the committee, the campaign reportedly urged states to delay or deny certification of electoral votes and to send multiple slates of electoral votes to Congress.
Jason Miller, a senior advisor to Trump’s reelection campaign who participated in a meeting on Jan. 5 at the Willard Hotel where Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, former adviser Bannon and others discussed options for overturning the results of the November 2020 election, according to the committee.
Angela McCallum, who was national executive assistant to the campaign and left a message for an unknown Michigan state representative asking whether the Trump campaign could “count on” the representative and said that the individual had the authority to appoint an alternate slate of electors based on purported evidence of widespread election fraud, according to the committee.
Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser, who reportedly attended a Dec. 18 meeting in the Oval Office during which participants discussed seizing voting machines, declaring a national emergency and invoking certain national security emergency powers, according to the committee.
Bernard Kerik, who reportedly participated in the Jan. 5 meeting at the Willard Hotel, according to the committee. Kerik reportedly paid for rooms and suites in Washington hotels that served as election-related command centers and also worked with Giuliani to investigate allegations of voter fraud and promote baseless litigation and “Stop the Steal” efforts.
Tuesday: More subpoenas and a court ruling
The committee announced subpoenas for more than 10 administration officials on Tuesday.
- Stephen Miller, a former senior adviser to Trump, for allegedly spreading false information about the 2020 election and encouraging state legislatures to appoint alternate slates of electors, according to the committee.
- Kayleigh McEnany, the former White House press secretary, made multiple false statements about purported fraud in the election, the committee said.
- Nicholas Luna, a former Trump personal assistant, who was reportedly in the Oval Office the morning of Jan. 6 and on a phone call pressuring Pence to not certify the election results, according to the committee.
- Molly Michael, a former special assistant to Trump and Oval Office operations coordinator, who sent information about alleged election fraud at Trump’s direction, according to the committee.
- Benjamin Williamson, a former deputy assistant to Trump and senior adviser to Meadows who was reportedly contacted by a former administration official and urged to have the president issue a statement condemning the violence, according to the committee.
- Christopher Liddell, former White House deputy chief of staff, who was in the building Jan. 6 and reportedly considered resigning, according to the committee.
- John McEntee, former White House personnel director, who was reportedly in the Oval Office when Giuliani and Pence discussed the Georgia audit of votes, according to the committee.
- Keith Kellogg, former national security adviser to Pence, who participated in at least one January 2021 meeting with Trump and White House counsel Pat Cipollone at which Trump insisted that Pence not certify the election, according to the committee.
Cassidy Hutchinson, a former special assistant to Trump for legislative affairs, who was reportedly at the White House on Jan. 6 and with Trump when he spoke at a rally near the White House before the riot.
Kenneth Klukowski, former senior counsel to Jeffrey Clark, a former assistant attorney general, who was involved in drafting a letter urging legislatures in certain states to delay their certification of the election, according to the committee.
Tuesday night, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan declined to issue a preliminary injunction sought by Trump’s lawyers to block the release of documents to the House committee, saying Biden was “best positioned” to determine whether to waive executive privilege on documents sought by the House.
Trump has sought to block the committee's access to the documents by arguing the release would violate executive privilege and the expectation that his communications were confidential.
Biden largely waived executive privilege on records that would be given to the committee.
“At bottom, this is a dispute between a former and incumbent President,” Chutkan wrote. “And the Supreme Court has already made clear that in such circumstances, the incumbent’s view is accorded greater weight.”
Trump “does not acknowledge the deference owed” to Biden’s judgment as president, Chutkan said. “Presidents are not kings, and Plaintiff is not President.”
Wednesday: An appeal attempt rejected
On Wednesday, Trump's attorney appealed the decision by Chutkan to block the release of documents to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on the basis that the National Archives Records Administration would release the documents Friday without intervention.
Chutkan upheld her ruling late Wednesday, rejecting the emergency request to keep the documents confidential while the case was argued.
“Were the court to grant Plaintiff’s motion, the effect would be ‘to give [Plaintiff] the fruits of victory whether or not the appeal has merit,’” Chutkan wrote in her ruling. “Plaintiff is not entitled to injunctive relief simply because the procedural posture of this case has shifted.”
Thursday: Appeal attempt granted
A three-judge panel of a federal appeals court agreed Thursday to temporarily block the release of the documents.
D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judges Patricia Millett, Robert Wilkins and Ketanji Brown Jackson blocked the National Archives from providing the documents to the House panel while the panel considers Trump's claims of executive privilege.
Trump's written arguments are due in the case Nov. 16. The House and the National Archives are due to respond Nov. 22. Oral arguments are set for Nov. 30.
Friday: Meadows doesn't appear, Bannon indicted
Prior to Thursday's ruling, the documents were scheduled for release by 6 p.m. Friday.
In addition on Friday, Meadows, Trump's White House chief of staff, failed to submit subpoenaed documents or appear for testimony, with his attorney George Terwilliger saying in a statement that his client would not cooperate until the court battle over the executive privilege claims is resolved.
The committee subpoenaed Meadows on Sept. 23 for his communications with Trump on Jan. 6 and with organizers of a rally where the president spoke before a mob attacked the Capitol
Chairman and Co-Chair of the committee, Reps. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., wrote in a statement that his "actions today—choosing to defy the law—will force the Select Committee to consider pursuing contempt or other proceedings to enforce the subpoena," similarly to Bannon, who served as Trump's political strategist and aide.
Bannon was indicted by a grand jury on two charges of criminal contempt for defying the subpoena Friday.
Bannon, who didn’t work for the executive branch at the time, was in contact with Trump in the days leading up to the attack on Jan. 6. Bannon’s lawyers told the committee in a letter Oct. 7 that Trump instructed him not to cooperate because the former president would fight disclosure under executive privilege – despite Bannon not working for the government.
He was found in contempt of Congress later in October.
"Bannon’s indictment should send a clear message to anyone who thinks they can ignore the Select Committee or try to stonewall our investigation: no one is above the law. We will not hesitate to use the tools at our disposal to get the information we need,” Thompson and Cheney said in a statement Friday evening.
Bannon, 67, is scheduled to surrender Monday to authorities and make his first court appearance that day.
Contributing: Bart Jansen and Kevin Johnson