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House committee subpoenas six people linked to Jan. 6 rally, including Trump-backed Ohio congressional candidate

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 12/10/2021 Mariana Alfaro
Republican congressional candidate Max Miller speaks at a rally at the Lorain County Fairgrounds on June 26 in Wellington, Ohio. © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post Republican congressional candidate Max Miller speaks at a rally at the Lorain County Fairgrounds on June 26 in Wellington, Ohio.

The House select committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob issued subpoenas Friday to six people involved in the planning of the rally on the Ellipse that preceded the insurrection.

Among those subpoenaed were Max Miller, who was an aide to President Donald Trump and is now an Ohio congressional candidate who the committee says met with Trump on Jan. 4 to discuss rally details, and another Trump aide, Robert “Bobby” Peede Jr., who also attended the meeting.

In a statement, the committee said it is seeking information from people involved with the rally’s planning or who witnessed the coordination of these plans.

“Some of the witnesses we subpoenaed today apparently worked to stage the rallies on January 5th and 6th, and some appeared to have had direct communication with the former president regarding the rally at the Ellipse directly preceding the attack on the U.S. Capitol,” Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the committee, said in the statement. “The Select Committee expects these witnesses to join the hundreds of individuals who have already cooperated with our investigation as we work to provide the American people with answers about what happened on January 6th and ensure nothing like that day ever happens again.”

In the worst attack on the Capitol since the War of 1812, a mob of Trump supporters stormed the building to try to stop the affirmation of Joe Biden’s electoral college win. The riot resulted in five dead and injuries to some 140 members of law enforcement.

The bipartisan committee is investigating the attack over the objections of many Republicans, including Trump.


Video: Ex-Trump chief of staff Meadows cooperating with Jan. 6 panel - for now (Reuters)

Others subpoenaed include former Trump aide Brian Jack, now an adviser to the political operation of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.); Stop the Steal movement organizer Ed Martin; and Kimberly Fletcher, a leader of Moms for America, the group that helped organize the Jan. 5 rally at Freedom Plaza and the rally at the Ellipse. The panel also subpoenaed Bryan Lewis, who obtained the permit for the rally.

Miller is running in Ohio’s 13th Congressional District and has received Trump’s endorsement, as well as the support of more than a dozen other prominent Republicans and Trump allies, including Reps. Ronny Jackson (Tex.) and Billy Long (Mo.), former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

In an op-ed published in The Washington Post in October, Miller’s ex-girlfriend Stephanie Grisham — a former Trump White House press secretary — accused a former partner of being violent toward her during their time working in the White House. Grisham didn’t name the individual in her op-ed, but within hours of the piece’s publication online, Miller sued her, alleging defamation.

In a letter to Miller, Thompson said the committee had “reason to believe” that he communicated, on or before Jan. 1, 2021, with then-Deputy Interior Secretary Katharine MacGregor and then-acting director of the National Park Service Margaret Everson about the permit process for the rally. Specifically, Thompson said Miller or someone acting on his behalf “sought to have those officials intervene with career employees who had declined to allow the stage for the rally to be placed in the center of the Ellipse.”

This denial, Thompson noted, was due to the NPS’s long-standing practice of not allowing event structures to be placed within the vista sightline between the White House’s Truman Balcony and the Jefferson Memorial. After the intervention, the career employees reversed the decision. After that, Miller exchanged texts with a rally organizer about the decision to build the stage in that spot, Thompson said.

This past week, Miller said in a tweet, “Upon taking office, I will make sure one of my first votes is to disband this partisan committee that has weaponized its powers against innocent Americans. Ohioans are tired of watching D.C.’s witch hunts and political theater while the country burns.”

A spokesman for Miller didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

Miller had announced a challenge to Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump on the charge of inciting an insurrection. In September, Gonzalez, a former professional football player once seen as a rising star within the GOP, announced that he would not seek reelection, citing a desire to “build a fuller family life” as well as “the toxic dynamics inside our own party.”

In a letter to Jack, Thompson said the former Trump aide, who was the president’s director of political affairs, reached out on behalf of Trump to certain members of Congress to ask that they speak at the Ellipse rally in support of the former president’s allegations of voter fraud. One of the members Jack contacted, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), accepted the invitation. Brooks told a reporter he wore body armor during his speech because he was “warned on [Jan. 3] that there might be risks associated with the next few days.”

Katrina Pierson, who served as Trump campaign spokesman in 2016 and also was an attendee at the Jan. 4 meeting in the dining room off the Oval Office, was subpoenaed by the committee in September.

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