(AP) — The House committee investigating the violent Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, with its latest round of subpoenas, may uncover the degree to which former President Donald Trump, his campaign and White House were involved in planning the rally — which had been billed as a grassroots demonstration — that preceded the riot.
The 11 subpoenas sent this week went to people who organized or worked at the rally at the Ellipse where Trump encouraged the crowd to march to the Capitol and told them “you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong."
Most of the organizers had worked on Trump’s presidential campaign or in his administration and could provide new details of how the rally that launched the violent attack came together.
The committee’s demands included materials having to do with planning, funding and participation in the event at the Ellipse, which was organized to protest the results of the November elections, as well as events that led up to it, including a bus tour and marches in Washington in November and December. The committee said it also asked for communications with Trump administration officials and lawmakers, which could show whether and how deeply government officials were involved in the day’s planning.
One of the people subpoenaed, whose firm was hired to provide event security that day, told The Associated Press he planned to cooperate.
“We have every intention of complying with the House select committee,” said Lyndon Brentnall, who runs Florida-based RMS Protective Services. “As far as we’re concerned, we ran security at a legally permitted event run in conjunction with the U.S. Secret Service and the Park Police.”
It was not clear whether the others would turn over documents by Oct. 13 or testify in depositions scheduled from late October through the beginning of November, as the committee has demanded. The AP sent emails and text messages, called phone listings or sent messages to online accounts for every person subpoenaed, but only Brentnall provided comment.
Brentnall said staff who worked security with him at the event were vetted by the Secret Service and Park Police. Their names, phone numbers and Social Security numbers were submitted in advance, he said.
“We literally ran the event security and the transport of VIPs from the hotel into the event, and then from the event into the hotel. That’s literally all we did,” he told AP.
Two people familiar with the planning of the event have told the AP that the White House coordinated with event organizers after Trump became aware of the plans for the rally in mid-December. They weren’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Nearly all the people subpoenaed were listed on the permit for the event, which was issued to Women for America First, a pro-Trump group with roots in the tea party movement. Three people currently or previously involved with the group were subpoenaed: Amy Kremer, her daughter, Kylie Jane Kremer, and Cindy Chafian.
Chafian had obtained a permit for Women for America First for a Dec. 12 rally at Freedom Plaza that grabbed Trump’s attention. Trump drew huge cheers from the crowd below as the presidential helicopter, Marine One, passed over the rally on its way to the Army-Navy football game in New York.
Within days, several groups that had come together under the umbrella of “Stop the Steal” began planning their next move, this time tied to the Jan. 6 vote certification in Congress, according to Kimberly Fletcher, founder of Moms for America, a member of the coalition. Fletcher told the AP in January that the groups began planning around mid-December. Trump soon caught wind of the plan.