Former Trump aide appears before US House probe of January 6 riot

Stephen Miller, former close adviser to Trump, had resisted a subpoena from House of Representatives investigators.

White House senior adviser Stephen Miller listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington.
White House senior adviser Stephen Miller was among strategists who backed former US President Donald Trump's false claims of fraud in the 2020 election [Evan Vucci/AP Photo]

Stephen Miller, who served as a top aide to former US President Donald Trump, appeared virtually on Thursday before a congressional committee investigating the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the United States Capitol, according to news reports.

Miller was a senior adviser for policy during the Trump administration and a central figure in many of the Republican president’s decisions. He had filed a lawsuit last month seeking to quash a subpoena from the House of Representatives for his phone records.

People familiar with Miller’s appearance before the committee spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private testimony, according to The Associated Press and NBC News.

The nine-member panel had subpoenaed the former Trump adviser in November along with Trump political adviser Steve Bannon and former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

Police release tear gas into a crowd of pro-Trump protesters during clashes at a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S, January 6, 2021.
Police release tear gas into a crowd of pro-Trump protesters during clashes at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 [Shannon Stapleton/Reuters]

Miller’s testimony comes after the former president’s daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, spoke with House investigators who are nearing completion of their formal probe that began eight months ago. The House committee is planning to launch a series of public hearings to lay out its findings beginning as soon as late April, committee members have said.

Miller had “by his own account participated in efforts to spread false information about alleged voter fraud” and encouraged “state legislatures to alter the outcome of the 2020 presidential election by appointing alternate electors”, the committee said when he was subpoenaed.

Representative Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the panel, has said that Miller helped prepare Trump’s remarks for a rally on the Ellipse that preceded the January 6 insurrection and was with Trump when he spoke.

In the days after Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election, Miller had been part of a small group of Trump political operatives who decided to push false claims the election had been tainted by fraud, according to reporting by The New York Times.

President Donald Trump speaks during a rally protesting the electoral college certification of Joe Biden as President in Washington on January 6.
President Donald Trump speaks during a rally protesting the electoral college certification of Joe Biden as president in Washington on January 6, 2021 [File: Evan Vucci/AP Photo]

The House voted last week to hold former Trump advisers Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino in contempt for their months-long refusal to comply with subpoenas. Previously the House had referred Bannon and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to the US Department of Justice for prosecution for contempt.

The contempt referral against Bannon resulted in an indictment, with a trial set to start in July. The Justice Department has not decided whether to prosecute Meadows, which could invoke constitutional issues around his role as White House chief of staff.

The central facts of the January 6 insurrection are known, but what House investigators are hoping to do is fill in gaps surrounding Trump’s alleged role in the attack on the US Capitol. Lawmakers say they are committed to presenting a full accounting to make sure it never happens again.

The panel is looking into every aspect of the riot, including what Trump was doing while it unfolded and any connections between the White House and the Trump supporters who broke into the Capitol building.

On Wednesday, President Biden authorised the release of an additional batch of records of Trump’s presidency from the National Archives to the committee.

The National Archives, a US agency that maintains presidential records, has already turned over hundreds of pages of documents including speech drafts, call and visitor logs, handwritten notes and other files.

Source: News Agencies