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Jan. 6 committee subpoenas former Trump lawyers, drafters of bogus executive orders

The inquest is turned now on the plot to have bogus electors manipulate the 2020 election results for Donald Trump and delay certification of his defeat.

WASHINGTON (CN) — The House panel investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection and efforts by former President Trump to halt the legal certification of the 2020 election results issued six subpoenas Tuesday, calling for testimony from members of Trump's legal team and individuals who disseminated his unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.

The panel is calling for Cleta Mitchell, Kenneth Chesebro, Christina Bobb, Katherine Friess, Kurt Olsen and Phill Kline to testify before the committee and comply with its investigation.

One of the subpoenas targets Mitchell, a conservative attorney whom former Trump lawyer John Eastman said recruited him to join the team aimed at overturning the election. Eastman told a federal court in California last week that Trump had directed Mitchell to create the legal strategy group in August 2020. 

The committee says Mitchell promoted false claims of election fraud to members of Congress and was part of the call in which Trump urged the Georgia secretary of state to "find" enough votes that would reverse his loss in the state. The panel also claims Mitchell was in contact with Trump on Jan. 6 and in the days leading up to the attack.

Chesebro was the lead attorney for the Trump campaign in Wisconsin during the 2020 election. The panel is demanding testimony and information from Chesebro, who actively promoted legal theories within the Trump campaign supporting the use of a fraudulent slate of GOP-backed electors in the states won by President Joe Biden.

The committee says Chesebro disseminated disinformation and told Trump these efforts would "'bolster[]' the argument for delaying the electoral certification and make the public 'believe[e] that the election in [Wisconsin] was likely rigged, and stolen by Biden and Harris, who were not legitimately elected,'" according to a letter the committee sent to Chesebro.

Bobb, a lawyer and host for right-wing media outlet One America News Network, and Friess, another lawyer, reportedly helped draft an executive order for Trump that would have directed the federal seizure of voting machines in several states to search for voter fraud. The committee says Friess at one point traveled to Michigan in an attempt to get voting data from Michigan election officials.

According to the committee, Bobb was in the Willard Hotel with Rudy Giuliani's legal team on Jan. 6.

The round of subpoenas also targets Olsen, a private attorney who contacted officials at the Department of Justice in the days leading up to Jan. 6, urging the department to mount another legal challenge to the election. Olsen allegedly drafted an executive order for Trump that would have directed the department to "take voter action," and had multiple private telephone calls with Trump on Jan. 6.

Kline, the final subject of the panel's latest inquest, is the former attorney general of Kansas and current director of the Amistad Project— a group that promoted the slate of fraudulent pro-Trump electors and even tried to deliver to the Michigan Legislature a group of fake electors whom state troopers ultimately rebuffed.

Per the committee, Kline organized a strategy meeting about purported election fraud between Trump and more than 300 state legislators and urged the lawmakers to sign a letter directing Vice President Mike Pence to delay the certification of Biden's victory.

“The Select Committee is seeking information about attempts to disrupt or delay the certification of electoral votes and any efforts to corruptly change the outcome of the 2020 election. The six individuals we've subpoenaed today all have knowledge related to those matters and will help the Select Committee better understand all the various strategies employed to potentially affect the outcome of the election," Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson said in a statement.

News of the subpoenas broke hours after reports that Biden would not assert executive privilege and keep former Trump advisers Peter Navarro and Michael Flynn from complying with the committee's request for documents and testimony related to Jan. 6.

Navarro was subpoenaed by the panel last month over his role in developing the false-elector plot and has said he will take the committee to court over its request.

Flynn was subpoenaed back in December, with the panel urging Trump's former national security adviser to divulge details on conversations he had with the president about invoking the national emergency power to investigate unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.

Throughout the committee's investigation, Biden has repeatedly rejected Trump and his advisors' claims of executive privilege over White House documents. Trump fought the investigation's demands for presidential papers and visitor logs in court, but the Supreme Court declined his request in January.

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Categories / Law, National, Politics

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