The Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol issued subpoenas to the man believed to have helped draft former President Donald Trump’s incendiary speech at the Ellipse, urging his supporters to “fight like hell” before the mob laid siege to Congress.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the committee’s chair, sent former White House official Ross Worthington a two-page letter demanding documents and deposition testimony.
“Based on documents produced to the Select Committee, we have reason to believe that you assisted with drafting then-President Trump’s speech at the rally held on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021, in support of his allegations of election fraud,” the letter states. “President Trump falsely asserted that he had won the 2020 Presidential election and urged the crowd to ‘fight much harder’ and ‘stop the steal.’ President Trump also encouraged attendees to march to the Capitol, telling them ‘I’ll be there with you.'”
Thompson simultaneously sent two other letters to Andy Surabian and Arthur Schwartz, both of whom acted as advisors for the 45th president’s son Donald Trump, Jr.
The letters to Surabian and Schwartz, in turn, seek information about their communications with Donald Trump Jr., his fiancée Kimberly Guilfoyle, and four other people involved in the Ellipse rally: Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich, Publix heiress Julie Fancelli, campaign spokesperson Katrina Pierson, and fundraiser Caroline Wren.
“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. Protestors became rioters who carried out a violent attempt to derail the peaceful transfer of power,” Thompson wrote 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.”
On Sunday, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) became the latest of Trump’s loyalists to refuse to cooperate with the committee, which already has referred criminal contempt charges against two of the former president’s allies: ex-chief strategist Steve Bannon and ex-chief of staff Mark Meadows. The Department of Justice only has leveled criminal charges against Bannon so far.
Though announced on Tuesday, all three letters were dated on Monday.
Surabian’s lawyer Daniel Bean told ABC News that the development “bewildered” him.
“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,” Bean reportedly said 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 ABC’s request for comment.
Thompson recent announced his committee’s intention to hold televised hearings.
Read the letter, below:
(Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
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