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House January 6 committee subpoenas more Stop the Steal organizers

House subpoenas January 6 rally organizers
House subpoenas January 6 rally organizers 06:25

The January 6 House select committee's latest round of subpoenas reveals its desire to know more about a private company calling itself Stop the Steal sent, which was created after the 2020 election and helped plan a rally outside the Capitol that day.

"Over the course of that day, demonstrations escalated to violence and protesters became rioters," Congressman Bennie Thompson, the committee's chair, wrote in letters accompanying the subpoenas."The Select Committee needs to understand all the details about the events that came before the attack, including who was involved in planning and funding them."

The panel sent a subpoena to Ali Abdul Akbar, also known as Ali Alexander, a Stop the Steal organizer who had found prominence online as a conspiracy theorist arguing the election had been stolen from former President Trump. On January 5, Alexander led crowds at Freedom Plaza in chants of "victory or death." 

The committee also subpoenaed Nathan Martin, whom it also believes was involved in Stop the Steal. Martin's and Alexander's names appeared on permit applications for a "One Nation Under God" rally on the Capitol Grounds on January 6. The committee also sent a subpoena to George B. Coleman, the custodian of records for the limited liability corporation. 

Trump Supporters Hold "Stop The Steal" Rally In DC Amid Ratification Of Presidential Election
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 6: Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. Demonstrators breeched security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the 2020 presidential election Electoral Vote Certification. (photo by Brent Stirton/Getty Images) brent stirton / Getty Images

In their permit applications, Alexander and Martin did not disclose any connection between their rally and the one at the Ellipse, where Mr. Trump encouraged supporters to march to the Capitol and embolden Republicans to "take back our country" and show their discontent with the affirmation of the electoral count,which showed Mr. Trump had lost to Joe Biden.. Alexander and Martin said they expected only about 50 people to attend, not the hundreds who marched from the first rally to the Capitol

"The rally on the Capitol grounds on January 6, like the rally near the White House that day, immediately preceded the violent attack on the seat of our democracy," Thompson wrote. 

The committee will likely issue more subpoenas after this batch, said Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, who sits on the panel. They have already compiled a trove of documents.

"We have received thousands and thousands of pages of documents, and there is more to come," Lofgren said. "Not every person has yet responded, but we've had a tremendous response overall." 

The select committee has asked telecommunications companies to preserve data on several sitting members of Congress. Last week, it sent subpoenas to 11 organizers of rallies and events before the attack on the Capitol, including the one at the Ellipse. Last month, it sent subpoenas to four of Mr. Trump's closest former advisors and aides with a deadline of October 7 for a response. 

Mr. Trump's legal team sent a letter to those subpoenaed that emphasizes that some of the material requested is subject to executive privilege. The letter, reviewed by CBS News, encourages to "where appropriate, invoke any immunities and privileges"; "not produce any documents" concerning "official duties in response to the subpoena" and "not provide any testimony" concerning official duties.

"Executive privilege will be defended, not just on behalf of President Trump and his administration, but also on behalf of the Office of the President of the United States and the future of our nation," said Taylor Budowich, a spokesperson for Mr. Trump, in a statement.

In an interview with CBS News, Lofgren said executive privilege doesn't apply to Mr. Trump or his former administration.

"If they are innocent individuals, they'll come forward," Lofgren said, "Former President Trump is not the president. The executive privilege, if it exists, is for the president, not the former president.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi created the House select committee earlier this year to investigate the January 6 attack, when thousands of Trump supporters descended on the Capitol as Congress counted the electoral votes, a largely ceremonial final step affirming President Biden's victory. Lawmakers were sent fleeing amid the riot, which led to the deaths of five people and the arrests of hundreds more. Mr. Trump, who encouraged his supporters to "walk over" to the Capitol during the Stop the Steal rally, was impeached by the House one week later for inciting the riot but was later acquitted by the Senate

Adam Brewster contributed reporting.

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