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Panel investigating Jan. 6 subpoenas Trump allies, rally organizers

The subpoenas from the bipartisan panel investigating the Jan. 6 attack are evidence of an intensifying select committee investigation.

Last week, the bipartisan House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack issued several subpoenas, seeking information from some of Donald Trump's closest advisers. The targets included former White House strategist Steve Bannon, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, former social media director Dan Scavino, and Kashyap Patel, who was chief of staff to Trump's defense secretary.

As NBC News reported last night, that first round of subpoenas was just the start.

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol issued another batch of subpoenas to Trump allies and several organizers of the rally that preceded the assault. Women for America First, a conservative group, helped organize the Jan. 6 rally, as well as rallies on Nov. 14 and Dec. 12, the panel said. The group also planned a rally on Jan. 5 and two "March for Trump" nationwide bus tours to promote the Washington rallies, the committee said.

The committee released a full list of those receiving subpoenas, and none of the 11 names are well known, high profile figures comparable to Bannon or Meadows.

But that doesn't make them irrelevant to the congressional investigation. On the contrary, the bipartisan panel is seeking sworn testimony and documents from this group of activists, partisan operatives, and organizers because, as the committee put it, they can help shed light on the "planning, organization, and funding" of events that led up to the deadly insurrectionist violence.

Whether the relevant people will comply with the subpoenas is a separate question.

"Everyone has a legal duty to comply with the subpoenas," Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin told The New York Times this week. "We have every reason to expect that they will comply."

In theory, that makes sense. In practice, it may not be that easy. The Guardian reported yesterday that Trump, who's acting like a man with something to hide, has told his allies that he expects them to defy the subpoenas and refuse to answer the congressional committee's questions.

Nevertheless, the subpoenas are evidence of an intensifying select committee investigation. Politico reported last week, for example, that the National Archives and Records Administration has started to produce materials for the congressional panel. On this point, the Guardian's report added:

As president, [President Joe] Biden retains the final authority over whether to assert the protection for specific documents, meaning that he can instruct the White House counsel, Dana Remus, to allow their release even over Trump's objections after an additional 60 days has passed. The former president, however, can then file lawsuits to block their release — a legal strategy that Trump and his advisers are preparing to pursue insofar as it could tie up the records in court for months and stymie evidence-gathering by the select committee.

Watch this space.