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Jan. 6 committee subpoenas Trump speechwriter, GOP operatives


(WASHINGTON) — The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack issued three new subpoenas on Tuesday to former Trump White House aides and associates, including a speechwriter who helped craft former President Donald Trump’s speech to supporters ahead of the Capitol riot.

The panel has subpoenaed GOP operatives Arthur Schwartz and Andrew Surabian, along with Trump White House speechwriter Ross Worthington.

“The Select Committee is seeking information from individuals who were involved with the rally at the Ellipse. Protests on that day escalated into an attack on our democracy,” Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said in a statement. “We have reason to believe the individuals we’ve subpoenaed today have relevant information and we expect them to join the more than 340 individuals who have spoken with the Select Committee as we push ahead to investigate this attack on our democracy and ensure nothing like this ever happens again.”

Both Surabian and Schwartz, who have ties to Donald Trump Jr. and have been in the former president’s orbit since he first ran for president, communicated with organizers and speakers at the rally on the National Mall, the committee said, pointing to records obtained by the panel.

“While we plan on cooperating with the Committee within reason, we are bewildered as to why Mr. Surabian is being subpoenaed in the first place,” Surabian’s lawyer, Daniel Bean, told ABC News in a statement. “He had nothing at all to do with the events that took place at the Capital that day, zero involvement in organizing the rally that preceded it and was off the payroll of the Trump campaign as of November 15, 2020.”

Schwartz and Worthington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to the committee, Worthington helped draft Trump’s speech that day to supporters — many of whom later marched across the National Mall to the Capitol after he encouraged them to do so.

Trump’s speech and intentions were a focus of debate during Trump’s second impeachment trial, when House Democrats charged him with inciting the riot.

His lawyers argued before the Senate that the president did not call for violence against lawmakers or Capitol Police.

The committee has asked all three witnesses to turn over records by Jan. 24 and appear for interviews at the end of the month, or early February.

To date, the panel has publicly disclosed 53 subpoenas, and investigators have obtained tens of thousands of pages of records, including some from the Trump White House, and text messages and emails provided by Mark Meadows, who served as Trump’s last White House chief of staff.

The committee, which is prepared to hold public hearings in the coming weeks, has also sought to voluntarily question GOP lawmakers involved in efforts to challenge the election results.

Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Scott Perry, R-Pa., have refused to cooperate with the inquiry, and the panel has not ruled out trying to compel their testimony.

The committee is also engaging with aides and associates of former Vice President Mike Pence, who Trump and others tried to pressure to overturn the election results while he presided over the counting of the electoral votes on Jan. 6.

Longtime Pence aide Marc Short has been subpoenaed by the committee, and his attorney continues to engage with the panel regarding testimony and cooperation.

Thompson also suggested in a recent NPR interview that the committee could request to interview Pence in the coming weeks.

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