As more details emerge of fascist paramilitary siege of Capitol

January 6 Select Committee subpoenas 5 of Trump’s congressional co-conspirators

On Thursday, the House Select Committee charged with investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on Congress announced new subpoenas targeting five of Trump’s congressional co-conspirators, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

In addition to McCarthy, the Select Committee subpoenaed four members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus: Reps. Mo Brooks (Alabama), Andy Biggs (Arizona), Scott Perry (Pennsylvania) and Jim Jordan (Ohio).

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., center, is joined by his picks for the Jan. 6 Select Committee after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected two Republicans, Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, for the committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, July 21, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

All five Republicans targeted by the committee voted to overturn the Electoral College certification of Joe Biden after fascist paramilitary gangs, taking orders from the White House, stormed the Capitol in an attempt to halt certification of the election.

Notably, the committee did not subpoena Texas Congressman Ronnie Jackson, who has refused to comply with an April request for an interview. Documents released by the committee last month showed that far-right Oath Keepers militia members bent on kidnapping or killing Trump’s political enemies sought to protect the Republican legislator, who had served previously as Trump’s White House doctor.

In a press release announcing the five subpoenas on Thursday, the Democratic chairman of the Select Committee, Bennie Thompson (Mississippi), wrote that the committee had “learned that several of our colleagues have information relevant to our investigation into the attack on January 6th and the events leading up to it.” He added that the committee wished to interview the five subpoenaed Republican lawmakers in advance of public hearings to be held in June.

The committee was established on July 1, 2021, with bold declarations of “getting to the bottom” of what happened on January 6. Yet to date, the committee has held only one public hearing, which took place at the end of July 2021 and featured the testimony of front-line cops.

“Regrettably,” Thompson continued in his statement, “the individuals receiving subpoenas today have refused [to testify voluntarily], and we’re forced to take this step to help ensure the committee uncovers facts concerning January 6th.” Appealing to the “patriotism” of his fascistic “colleagues,” Thompson called on the lawmakers to “comply with the law” and “do their patriotic duty.”

As of this writing, none of the lawmakers subpoenaed by the committee has indicated any intention of complying. In a brief interview with congressional reporters on Thursday, McCarthy said his “view on the committee has not changed.”

“They’re not conducting a legitimate investigation,” McCarthy said. “It seems as though they just want to go after their political opponents.”

In seeking McCarthy’s cooperation, the committee noted that the Republican leader of the House “was in communication with President Trump before, during, and after the attack on January 6th.”

The committee is requesting that McCarthy and Brooks appear for depositions on May 31, while Biggs and Perry are scheduled for May 27 and Jordan the following day, May 28. Unlike previous subpoena letters issued by the committee, the letters sent to the representatives do not go into any detail about the actions of each lawmaker, instead remaining purposefully vague.

In a press release announcing the subpoenas on Thursday, the committee wrote that Pennsylvania Rep. Perry was “directly involved with efforts to corrupt the Department of Justice (DoJ) and install Jeffrey Clark as acting Attorney General.”

News reports on text messages exchanged between Perry and Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows prior to January 6 have shown that Perry was pushing Meadows to install Clark at the Justice Department so that Clark could issue letters with a DoJ letterhead announcing “investigations” into non-existent voter fraud in states Trump lost to Biden, such as Georgia and Pennsylvania.

The plan was to use the announcement of these bogus investigations to give Republicans a pretext to reject the Electoral College vote during the official certification on January 6, causing the election to be thrown into the House. In this scenario, each state delegation would cast one vote, and since there are more majority-Republican than Democratic-majority delegations, the election result could be overturned and Trump installed as president-dictator.

In its subpoena of top Trump attack dog Jim Jordan, the committee noted he was “in communication” with Trump on “January 6th and participated in meetings and discussions throughout late 2020 and early 2021 about strategies for overturning the 2020 election.”

Leading “Stop the Steal” organizer Andy Biggs, the committee wrote, “was involved with plans to bring protesters to Washington for the counting of Electoral College votes.” Biggs was also involved in “efforts to persuade state officials that the 2020 election was stolen.” The committee noted that Biggs was also seeking a “presidential pardon for activities connected” with Trump’s coup.

Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks, who recently lost Trump’s endorsement for the Alabama Senate race, spoke at the Ellipse on January 6. Wearing body armor in anticipation of the violence he knew was about to occur, Brooks incited the crowd of Trump supporters to march on Congress, telling them to “start taking down names and kicking ass.”

Earlier this year, Brooks admitted that aspiring dictator Trump asked him sometime “after September 1, 2021” to help “rescind the election of 2020.”

It is unclear at this time what the committee will do if and when the Republican lawmakers refuse to cooperate. While many Republicans and Trump allies have refused to cooperate with the committee, so far only former Trump adviser and fascist “War Room” podcast host Steve Bannon, after being found in contempt of Congress, has been arraigned for failing to comply with a Committee subpoena. Meadows, who was found in contempt of Congress last December, has yet to be arraigned by Attorney General Merrick Garland.

Less than a day after the subpoenas were issued, Republican lawmakers are almost uniformly threatening retribution against their Democratic “colleagues” for having the temerity to subpoena Trump’s congressional accomplices. On Friday, several Republicans vowed to subpoena current Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi should Republicans gain control of the chamber following the mid-term elections in November.

Georgia Republican Rep. Buddy Carter said that by issuing subpoenas, the Committee was “setting the precedent.” Carter added that Republicans were “just not gonna lie down and let this happen.” He added, “There are serious questions about her [Pelosi’s] role on January 6 and exactly what she did and what she didn’t do. And we need to get to the bottom of that.”

Parroting Carter and repeating Trump’s lie that Pelosi, not Trump and his Republican allies, was responsible for the attack on the Capitol, Indiana Rep. Jim Banks likewise signaled his support for subpoenaing the top Democrat in the House. He told reporters that she “is the only person in the United States who has covered anything up related to January 6. So that’s who they should subpoena. She should be at the top of the list.”

Meanwhile, new court documents submitted in connection with the ongoing seditious conspiracy trial of 11 Oath Keepers, including the founder of the fascist paramilitary group, Stewart Rhodes, were released this week. They further expose the close coordination between the group and the Trump White House in the attempted coup.

As part of the government’s evidence against Rhodes, a transcript of a November 9, 2020 meeting Rhodes held with Oath Keepers on the “GoToMeeting” platform was released. The document shows that immediately following Trump’s defeat on November 3, 2020, Rhodes and his Oath Keepers were activated in service of the coup plot.

On the call, made just two days after Biden was declared the winner of the election, Rhodes began by repeating Trump’s lie that the election was illegitimate due to massive “fraud.” He said that the only way to “save the Republic” was for Trump to “invoke the Insurrection Act” and “suppress[ing] this insurrection.”

Composite image of Oath Keeper leader Stewart Rhodes and ex-president Donald Trump at the 2022 Conservative Action Political Conference. [Photo: Collin County Texas, CPAC 2022, Hermann Tertsch and Victor Gonzalez, WSWS.org)]

“In order to get him to do that,” Rhodes said that Trump “needs to know that people are behind him. That he will not be deserted ... so we’ve got be in D.C. You have to be willing to go to D.C. and street fight Antifa.”

Rhodes continued, “So here they’re going to try to attack people. Don’t be afraid, you know. Go there in large numbers. That’s why we need to be there ... and just be ready to fight. And if the fight comes, let the fight come. Let Antifa go if they go ‘kinetic’ on us, then we’ll go ‘kinetic’ back on them. I’m willing to sacrifice myself for that. Let the fight start there, okay. That would give President Trump what he needs rapidly.”

“So our mission,” Rhodes continued, is “going to be to go into D.C., but I do want some Oath Keepers to stay on the outside and to stay fully armed and prepared to go in armed, if they have to. So if the sh*t kicks off, you rock and roll. Okay?”

Confirming that the Oath Keepers were taking orders from the White House and that the storming of the Capitol was not a “spontaneous” eruption of opposition to alleged “electoral fraud,” Rhodes said, “So our posture’s going to be that we’re posted outside of D.C. awaiting the president’s orders. We’re not going to … we’re hoping he will give us the orders. ... We want him to declare an insurrection, and to call us up as the militia … he can do that. And if he does that, then D.C. gun laws won’t matter. They’re trumped by invocation of the Insurrection Act and calling you up.

“So we’re going to have a QRF [Quick Reaction Force]. But that QRF will be awaiting the president’s orders.”

The release of this discussion follows the release of a phone call by Rhodes to the White House at 6:00 p.m. on January 6, before the insurrectionists had been fully cleared from the Capitol grounds, in which the Oath Keepers leaders asked to speak to Trump directly in order to urge him to call for the QRFs to descend on the Capitol and overturn the election of Biden.