Al Jazeera’s William Roberts encounters hostility, hears conspiracy theories and watches police expel the protesters.
The United States House of Representatives Select Committee investigating the deadly January 6 riot at the Capitol has subpoenaed four former members of Donald Trump’s administration, including Mark Meadows and Steve Bannon, the panel’s chairman has announced.
Former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino and former Defense Department official Kash Patel were also subpoenaed and instructed to produce materials and appear for depositions, committee Chairman Bennie Thompson said in a statement.
Meadows, a former congressman, served as Trump’s White House chief of staff. Bannon was a White House adviser to Trump.
A representative for Meadows said he declined to comment. Bannon and Scavino could not be reached for comments immediately.
Patel said in a statement he was “disappointed, but not surprised” the committee issued a subpoena before seeking his voluntary cooperation.
A mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on January 6 as Congress was meeting to certify Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory. The unrest delayed the process for several hours as then-Vice President Mike Pence, members of Congress, staff and journalists fled from rioters.
Nearly 600 people have been arrested on charges tied to the attack. It was the worst violence at the seat of the US government since the British invasion during the War of 1812.
Thompson said Meadows reportedly communicated with state and federal officials as part of an effort to overturn the 2020 election or prevent Biden’s certification. Meadows was also reportedly in communication with organisers of the January 6 rally, Thompson said.
‘All hell is going to break loose’
In a letter to Bannon, Thompson noted that he had been involved with multiple conversations about persuading members of Congress to block certification of Trump’s election defeat.
“You are quoted as stating, on January 5, 2021, that ‘all hell is going to break loose tomorrow,'” Thompson wrote.
“Accordingly, the select committee seeks both documents and your deposition testimony.”
Bannon was fired by Trump in August 2017, but they later mended fences and stayed in contact. Trump pardoned Bannon after he was charged with swindling the president’s supporters over an effort to raise private funds to build a border wall.
Meadows and Scavino have been instructed to appear for depositions on October 15 and Bannon and Patel on October 14.
Thompson said in his letter to Scavino that he was a witness to Trump’s activities on the day of the riot. “You may also have materials relevant to [Trump’s] videotaping and tweeting messages on January 6,” Thompson said.
Patel, who served as chief of staff to acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, reportedly spoke repeatedly to Meadows on the day of the riot.
House Democrats formed the committee over objections from Trump’s fellow Republicans in the House. Two Republicans are on the committee, Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger.
They are among 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump on a charge of inciting the violence in a fiery speech repeating his false claims that his defeat was the result of widespread fraud. The Senate later acquitted him.
“We will fight the Subpoenas on Executive Privilege and other grounds,” Trump said in a statement.