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Jan. 6 panel subpoenas Trump’s son’s advisers, aide who helped write rally speech

Demands focus on rally at the Ellipse, Chairman Bennie Thompson says

Donald Trump Jr. speaks at a rally of his father's supporters on Jan. 6, 2021 at the Ellipse behind the White House before protesters stormed the Capitol.
Donald Trump Jr. speaks at a rally of his father's supporters on Jan. 6, 2021 at the Ellipse behind the White House before protesters stormed the Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House panel investigating the Capitol attack on Tuesday sent subpoenas to Ross Worthington, a former White House aide who helped draft then-President Donald Trump’s Jan. 6 speech at a rally on the Ellipse, and two of Donald Trump Jr. ‘s advisers.

Worthington, Andy Surabian and Arthur Schwartz are required to produce records by Jan. 24 and sit for interviews with the committee.

“The Select Committee is seeking information from individuals who were involved with the rally at the Ellipse,” Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said in a statement. “Protests on that day escalated into an attack on our democracy. Protestors became rioters who carried out a violent attempt to derail the peaceful transfer of power.”

Worthington, the committee said, helped draft Trump’s speech preceding the insurrection, in which the former president falsely claimed the election had been stolen and urged supporters to “fight much harder” and “stop the steal.”  Worthington is scheduled to appear for his deposition on Feb. 2.

The committee is interested in communications Schwartz and Surabian had on plans for the rally, appearance fees for those who spoke, media coverage about the rally, and concerns about having proposed speakers like Ali Alexander, the organizer of Stop the Steal, and Alex Jones, a far-right conspiracy theorist of Infowars fame. Jones and Alexander have also been subpoenaed by the committee. The panel says it has reason to believe that Schwartz spoke with Caroline Wren, Taylor Budowich, Julie Fancelli, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Katrina Pierson and Trump Jr.

Schwartz is asked to testify Jan. 31, and Surabian on Feb. 1.

Pierson, a former Trump campaign official, and Wren, a “VIP Advisor” for the Jan. 6 rally, have already received subpoenas. ​​Budowich, a spokesperson for Trump and the Save America political action committee who worked to encourage attendance at the rally, has also been previously subpoenaed.

“We have reason to believe the individuals we’ve subpoenaed today have relevant information and we expect them to join the more than 340 individuals who have spoken with the Select Committee as we push ahead to investigate this attack on our democracy and ensure nothing like this ever happens again,” Thompson said in his statement.

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