Capitol riots probe panel serves subpoenas to 10 Trump aides


Washington D.C
Trump quickly filed a court notice indicating he would appeal the decision. © LM Otero, AP

A federal court ruled Tuesday that the US House of Representatives committee investigating the deadly attack on the US Capitol can examine former President Donald Trump's White House papers, a clear victory for congressional oversight authorities.

Tanya Chutkan, a US District Judge in the District of Columbia, rejected Trump's lawyers' claim that telephone records, visitor logs, and other White House materials should be kept secret from the committee.

"While broad in scope, these requests, along with the Committee's other requests, do not exceed the Committee's legislative authority," Chutkan wrote in her ruling.

Trump had contended that the House committee's records were protected by a legal notion known as executive privilege, which safeguards the confidentiality of specific White House discussions.

He sought a restraining order preventing the National Archives, a federal agency that houses his White House archives, from cooperating with the committee's request for hundreds of pages of material.

Trump's attorney, Jesse Binnall, did not immediately reply to a request for comment. Trump immediately filed a court notification notifying the court that he would appeal the judgment.

The committee has stated that it requires the sought information to comprehend Trump's possible participation in fomenting the unrest fully.

"That is a significant development," US Representative Bennie Thompson, head of the House of Representatives select committee, told CNN in an interview. "I eagerly await this information. I'm looking forward to our investigators going over it thoroughly to ensure that our government was not weaponized against its citizens."

Chutkan stated that Trump had failed to accept "the deference owed to" Vice President Joe Biden's decision to allow the committee access to the papers.

"His (Trump's) position that he has the authority to override the executive branch's express will appears to be predicated on the notion that his executive authority 'exists in perpetuity,'" Chutkan added. "However, Presidents are not kings, and Plaintiff is neither."

Subpoenas served to senior aides.

Earlier Tuesday, the committee announced that it had issued subpoenas for additional papers and testimony from former President Donald Trump's aides, including senior adviser Stephen Miller and former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

The ten individuals subpoenaed include White House aides and other officials, including some senior officials, who the committee alleges were present when thousands of Trump supporters marched on the US Capitol and met with Vice President Mike Pence and members of Congress to certify the Republican president's defeat in the November 2020 election.

Thompson, the committee's chair, stated in a statement that the committee wanted to "understand every detail of what occurred in the White House" on Jan. 6 and the days surrounding the attack.

"We need to know precisely what role the former President and his aides played in efforts to halt the electoral vote counting and whether they communicated with anyone outside the White House attempting to overturn the election outcome," Thompson said.

The committee requested that those subpoenaed submit records by Nov. 23 and appear for closed-door depositions between late November and mid-December.

In a statement, Trump claimed that the subpoenas were issued by a select committee of "politically ambitious hacks."

At this point, the panel has served at least 35 subpoenas and elicited testimony from over 150 witnesses. On Monday, it unveiled six indictments against Trump allies, including top aides from the Republican's unsuccessful 2020 re-election campaign.

The House voted last month to declare Steve Bannon, a longstanding Trump ally, contempt for his unwillingness to cooperate. The Department of Justice has not yet said whether it will prosecute Bannon for criminal contempt.

John McEntee, the White House personnel director, and Christopher Liddell, a White House deputy chief of staff, were also subpoenaed.

Former Trump advisers either could not be reached for comment immediately or did not respond to calls for comment.

Over 670 people have been charged with participating in the Capitol riot, which was an unsuccessful attempt to prevent Congress from legally certifying Biden's election victory. It was the most significant attack on the US government's seat of power since the War of 1812 and the only time power has not been peacefully passed in the United States.

Publish : 2021-11-10 10:23:00

Give Your Comments