House Committee issues subpoenas for organizers of rallies leading up to January 6 attack

On Wednesday, the chairman of the House Select Committee investigating former President Donald Trump’s January 6 coup attempt, Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi) announced that the committee had issued 11 new subpoenas against individuals responsible for organizing, paying for, and promoting fascist pro-Trump “Stop the Steal” rallies on January 6 and the weeks leading up to it.

The targeted individuals include the founders and senior leadership of the far-right Women for America First (WFAF) which organized “Stop the Steal” rallies in Washington D.C. on November 14, 2020, December 12, 2020, and January 6, 2021, as well as rallies throughout 2020 in opposition to pandemic-related public health measures. These rallies, which built up to the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, were heavily attended by fascist militia groups who would lead the far-right mob against Congress, such as the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and the Reunification Church, a Christian fascist cult also known as the “Moonies.”

The U.S. Capitol under siege by Trump supporters on January 6, 2021. [Photo by Tyler Merbler / CC BY 4.0]

WFAF also organized two cross-country “March for Trump” bus tours following the November election. The tours, which were partially financed by fascist My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell, had more than 25 stops, including in Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. During the stops, Amy Kremer, founder of WFAF and one of the 11 subpoenaed individuals, exhorted the crowds to join her in Washington D.C. on January 6.

At the January 6 rally organized by WFAF outside the White House, Trump, family members, Republican lawmakers and campaign operatives spoke in support of Trump’s “big lie”: that the election was stolen and that Trump was the true winner. Speaking at the rally, former New York mayor and Trump personal lawyer Rudolph Giuliani called for “trial by combat,” while Trump urged the crowd, which included hundreds of former and current police, military and militia members, to “fight like hell and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”

Subpoenaed individuals include:

  • Amy Kremer, founding member of the Tea Party Patriots and founder and chair of the WFAF. In a letter to Kremer, Thompson wrote that “you were listed as one of several designated points of contact for the rally. According to press reports, you, and others working with you and WFAF to organize the January 6th rally, collectively communicated with President Trump, White House officials including Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and others about the rally and other events planned to coincide with the certification of the 2020 Electoral College results.”
  • Kylie Kremer, daughter of Amy, founder and Executive Director of WFAF. She was named as the “Person in Charge” on the WFAF rally permit. On December 18, 2020 Kylie tweeted, “The calvary [sic] is coming, Mr. President! January 6th | Washington D.C. #MarchForTrump #StopTheSteal”
  • Cynthia Chafian, who submitted the first application on behalf of WFAF for the January 6 rally and has worked on and off with the organization since October 2019. According to Pro Publica, Chafian worked with WFAF for three weeks before the January 6 event, producing a “budget” and a “vendors breakdown.” Chafian is also the founder of the Eighty Percent Coalition, which is “dedicated to eradicating the socialist policies that harm all families, businesses, schools, and churches.”
  • Caroline Wren, was listed as a “VIP Advisor” for the January 6 rally. According to Pro Publica, Wren “played an extensive role in managing operations for the event. The records show that Wren oversaw logistics, budgeting, funding and messaging for the January 6 rally.” Pro Publica wrote that Wren placed special emphasis on organizing the rally to make sure the “messaging” and “timing” of the rally coincided with “the votes [certifying Biden’s victory] that day [January 6].” Pro Publica also notes that Wren and her consulting firm, Bluebonnet Consulting, have been paid more than $890,000 by the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee and Trump Victory since April 2017
  • Maggie Mulvaney is the niece of ex-White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, listed on permit paperwork for the January 6 rally as “VIP Advisor.” She previously worked as director of finance operations for the Trump campaign, where she was paid $10,000 a month.
  • Justin Caporale was listed as a “Project Manager” for the rally and works for Event Strategies Inc. Event Strategies Inc. was paid over $1 million throughout the 2020 election cycle by the Trump campaign. Pro Publica previously reported that Caporale was formerly a “top aide” of former first lady Melania Trump.
  • Tim Unes, founder of Event Strategies Inc. Unes worked on Trump’s 2015 “campaign announcement tour” and later joined the campaign as a “Deputy Director of Advance.”
  • Megan Powers, of MPowers Consulting LLC, listed on permit paperwork for the January 6 rally as “Operations Manager for Scheduling and Guidance.” According to her LinkedIn profile, Powers was “Director of Operations” for Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. from January 2019 to January 2021.
  • Hannah Salem, of Salem Strategies LLC, listed on permit paperwork for the January 6 rally as “Operations Manager for Logistics and Communications.” Salem is also a former Special Assistant to the President, and the Operations Manager for the March to Save America.
  • Lyndon Brentnall, of RMS Protective Services, listed on permit paperwork for the January 6 rally as “On-Site Supervisor.” RMS Protective Services boasted in a December 1, 2020 Facebook post that the company was “now a proud member of the U.S. Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council.”
  • Katrina Pierson was involved in the organization of rallies on January 5 and 6 in Washington D.C. and was in direct communication with Trump regarding the rallies according to the Wall Street Journal. The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump allegedly told Pierson that during the January 6 rally he “wanted to be joined primarily by lawmakers assisting his efforts to block electoral votes from being counted” and “members of his own family.” Pierson was a spokesperson for the Trump 2016 presidential campaign.

In a press statement announcing the subpoenas, Thompson wrote that he has “instructed witnesses to testify at depositions and to produce a sweeping range of records.”

As part of the ongoing effort by the Democratic Party to contain the fallout from the coup attempt, even though those subpoenaed have been asked to comply with all document requests by October 13, the committee will not publicly broadcast their depositions, which will instead be taken behind closed doors later in October.

These subpoenas follow the four that were issued last week against high-level Trump conspirators: former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, former deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino, former White House Special Adviser Stephen Bannon and Kashyap “Kash” Patel, chief of staff of former acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller.

In a January statement to the AP and ABC News, the Trump campaign denied organizing, operating or financing the January 6 rally and claimed that if any former employees or independent contractors helped organize the event, “they did not do so at the direction of the Trump campaign.”

Speaking to CNN on Wednesday, Representative Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland) pushed back on the fiction propagated by Trump and his acolytes that January 6 was not a coordinated attack.

“Well, Donald Trump would certainly invite us to believe that it was some kind of spontaneous eruption of hugs and kisses towards the officers. That’s pretty divorced from reality. There was obviously a lot of coordination and planning that took place and we are going to reconstruct it,” he said.

In fact, as the list above demonstrates, the rally that launched the violent attack on the Capitol was conceived, organized and orchestrated by former top officials of the Trump campaign, who set the stage for the attempted coup that followed.