The House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob issued subpoenas to the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and other organizations on Tuesday as it looks into the reasons of the insurgency.
The newest round of subpoenas has been sent to Proud Boys leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, Oath Keeper founder and leader Stewart Rhodes, and 1st Amendment Praetorian co-founder Robert Patrick Lewis. The committee is requesting depositions and documentation from the three, as well as documents and records from the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys.
“We believe the individuals and organizations we subpoenaed today have relevant information about how violence erupted at the Capitol and the preparation leading up to this violent attack,” Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), the committee’s chairman, said in a statement.
Federal officials have already detained members of several of the right-wing organizations participating in the Capitol invasion. For their participation in the Jan. 6 incident, Tarrio and Rhodes have been the focus of the FBI’s continuing investigation into the Capitol attack.
Tarrio, 37, was sentenced to five months in prison for two offences, including torching a Black Lives Matter flag taken from a historic Black church in Washington during a protest after Joe Biden upset President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.
Tarrio was refused early release from a D.C. prison on Monday after saying he was subjected to unclean conditions and harassment at the facility.
Thompson cites Tarrio’s post on Parler that Proud Boys would “not be wearing our traditional Black and Yellow” but would be “incognito” instead for the Jan. 6 Stop the Steal protest as an example of some of the advanced planning Tarrio was involved in ahead of the event in a letter transmitting notice of the subpoena.
“Though you were prevented from participating in the events at the United States Capitol on January 6th, to date, at least 34 individuals affiliated with the Proud Boys have been indicted by the Department of Justice in relation to the attack at the United States Capitol,” Thompson writes.
The committee is also requesting Rhodes’ depositions and materials, noting his frequent comments in written and oral utterances that the Oath Keepers “should, or were willing to engage in violence to guarantee their favored election result.”
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The committee also mentions Rhodes in an indictment handed by a federal grand jury in Washington, which “describes a conspiracy among at least 18 Oath Keepers in which members of the Oath Keepers planned to move together in coordination and with regular communication to storm” the Capitol.
In an interview, Rhodes, who has cooperated with FBI investigators, denied that he and other Oath Keepers planned to disrupt Congress’s certification of the electoral college vote, and said that Oath Keepers associates who breached the Capitol “went totally off mission.” And, Rhodes’ reputation as the commander of an actual paramilitary squad is overblown.
Lewis is also a subpoena target due to his ties to right-wing agitator Ali Alexander, who has also been subpoenaed by the committee, as well as his involvement with Sidney Powell and Trump’s former national security advisor Michael Flynn in their attempts to reverse the 2020 election results. The committee also subpoenaed Flynn this month for his role in the Jan. 6 insurgency.
Since the inquiry started, the committee has issued more than 40 subpoenas, encompassing a wide variety of targets allegedly participating in different activities surrounding the events leading up to and on Jan. 6. On Monday, the committee issued subpoenas to other Stop the Steal demonstration participants, including conspiracy theorist and right-wing media personality Alex Jones and longtime Trump associate Roger Stone.
The subpoenas issued this week for them are about the financing and organizing of protests on Jan. 5 and 6, as well as the march from the Ellipse to the Capitol.
On January 5, Jones and Stone delivered addresses to Trump supporters, asking them to reject the election results.
“I don’t know how this is all going to end, but if they want to fight, they better believe they’ve got one,” Jones told a crowd at Freedom Plaza in Washington the night before the attack, as PBS detailed.
Jones aided in securing financing for the Jan. 6 demonstration Jones has said that he attempted to de-escalate the conflict and prevent individuals from bursting into the Capitol, according to the Journal.
The committee’s demand is only the latest in a string of legal troubles for Jones. In a case filed by parents of children slain in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, a judge last week held him guilty for slander. Pages affiliated with Jones and his Infowars program have also been deleted from Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for breaking the sites’ community rules.
Meanwhile, Stone gathered funds for “private security” on January 5 and 6, and urged on anyone attending a Jan. 5 event to join a “epic fight,” according to Mother Jones. He has since justified his remarks from that day.
A group of Capitol Police officers sued him and a number of other defendants, including Trump, in August, claiming civil rights violations. Stone was charged in the complaint of actively engaging in “Trump’s strategy to disseminate false claims of election fraud” and of popularizing the #StopTheSteal hashtag. On September 15, when Stone was on a talk radio program, a process server served him with the complaint.
“This is a big, big stack of papers, which is good because we’re out of toilet paper today,” Stone stated.
He later called the suit “baseless, groundless, and unsubstantiated.”
Stone said in a statement that he had not yet been served by the committee and had not seen the specifics of the material sought, but that he would decide his next steps after studying the requests with his counsel.
“I have said time and time again that I had no advance knowledge of the events that took place at the Capitol on that day,” he said. “Any statement, claim, insinuation, or report alleging, or even implying, that I had any involvement in or knowledge, whether advance or contemporaneous, about the commission of any unlawful acts by any person or group in or around the U.S. Capitol or anywhere in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021, is categorically false.”
The committee also subpoenaed Budowich, Trump’s spokeswoman, who has handled media queries concerning the Jan. 6 investigation for the former president. Budowich formerly served as the executive director of the Tea Party Express. He also oversaw the Save the United States Senate super PAC, which attempted to assist Republicans win the 2020 Georgia Senate run-off elections. Republicans barely lost both contests, delivering Democrats control of the Senate.