WASHINGTON (AP) — The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection issued Tuesday saw more subpoenas to extremist groups, such as the Proud Boys or the Oath Keepers. This was in an effort to find out the plotting and execution behind the fatal attack.
“The Select Committee is seeking information from individuals and organizations reportedly involved with planning the attack, with the violent mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6th, or with efforts to overturn the results of the election,” Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, the Democratic chairman of the panel, said in a statement.
These subpoenas will be served. the latest in a wide net the House panel has cast To investigate the riot, supporters of former President were brought in by police. Donald TrumpFueled by false claims about a stolen electoral election, he attacked police officers and smashed into Capitol, interrupting the certification for Democrat Joe Biden’s victory.
More than 150 individuals from government and social media have already been interviewed by the committee, which also included some ex-Trump aides. The panel has subpoenaed more than 20 witnesses, and most of them, including several who helped plan the “Stop the Steal” rally the morning of Jan. 6, have signaled they will cooperate.
Recent subpoenas were sent to Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys, 1st Amendment Praetorian groups, as well as their members. They sought documents and testimonies.
Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, chairman of the Proud Boys, was among those subpoenaed. He hasn’t been charged in the riot as he wasn’t there on Jan. 6. He’d been arrested in an unrelated vandalism case as he arrived in Washington two days earlier and was ordered out of the area by a judge. Later, law enforcement stated that Tarrio was arrested in an unrelated vandalism case and ordered out of the area by a judge.
But despite him not being physically present, the committee believes he may have been involved in the Proud Boys’ preparation for the events at the Capitol.
The committee highlighted a line from another Proud Boys leader’s podcast shortly before Jan. 6 in which he said, “When police officers or government officials are breaking the law, what are we supposed to do as people? Discourse? How are we to debate? No, we have to use force.”
Jason Lee Van Dyke, a lawyer previously affiliated with the Proud Boys and subpoenaed as part of the congressional investigation, said he would give the committee records that aren’t protected by attorney-client privilege, but emphasized that his affiliation with the Proud Boys International LLC ended in November 2018.
Van Dyke added that he didn’t have any records from November 2020 through the present that the subpoena seeks. “I can’t give them what I don’t have,” Van Dyke said.
Among those charged are more than 30 Proud Boys members, leaders and associates. The group of self-described “Western chauvinists” emerged from far-right fringes during the Trump administration to join mainstream GOP circles, with allies like longtime Trump backer Roger Stone. According to the group, it claims more than 30,000.
The committee on Tuesday also subpoenaed the Oath Keepers — a militia group founded in 2009 that recruits current and former military, police and first responders — and its founder and leader Elmer Stewart Rhodes. According to the panel, Rhodes could have advised members that they engage in violence in order to secure their desired election outcome. He was also in touch with many of the Oath Keepers indicted members, and even met them outside of the Capitol.
Rhodes has said there were as many as 40,000 Oath Keepers at its peak, but one extremism expert estimates the group’s membership stands around 3,000 nationally. Rhodes didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment that was left on the organization’s website.
The last organization on the committee’s list Tuesday was the 1st Amendment Praetorian, founded by a QAnon believer, which claims to provide free security for “patriotic and religious events across the country.”
Robert Patrick Lewis, the chairman of the group, was listed on the permit that allowed for the Jan. 5 protest at Freedom Plaza in Washington. On the day of the attack, Lewis tweeted: “Today is the day that true battles begin.”
After subpoenas were issued to Stone and Alex Jones, subpoenas further restricted in their reach.
Trump’s allies are not cooperating. Steve Bannon was indicted for two counts of criminal contempt by Congress on November 12. He defied an order from the House committee. Before moving on to a contempt vote, the committee gave Mark Meadows, former chief of staff at White House, more time for him to respond with his subpoena.
Phoenix writer Jacques Billeaud of the Associated Press contributed to this article.