WASHINGTON, Nov 23 — The US panel investigating the January 6 insurrection subpoenaed five more of Donald Trump’s allies Monday, closing in on the actions of those directly involved in planning rallies around the assault.
Far-right radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and self-styled “dirty trickster” Roger Stone were ordered to testify alongside two key figures in Trump’s “Stop the Steal” movement, as well as the former president’s current spokesman.
“The select committee is seeking information about the rallies and subsequent march to the Capitol that escalated into a violent mob attacking the Capitol and threatening our democracy,” chairman Bennie Thompson said in a statement.
“We need to know who organized, planned, paid for, and received funds related to those events, as well as what communications organisers had with officials in the White House and Congress.”
Thousands of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol 10 months ago in an effort to overturn President Joe Biden’s election victory in a riot that is blamed in part for the deaths of five people and injuries to dozens of police officers.
Trump had urged them to march on the Capitol and “fight like hell” in a fiery speech that was the culmination of months of baseless fraud claims about a contest he had lost fairly to Biden.
The panel has already summoned numerous former Trump campaign officials and administration staffers, from his personal assistant Nick Luna to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and strategist Steve Bannon, who is being prosecuted for not complying.
Jones, 47, and Stone, a 69-year-old veteran Republican operative going back to the presidency of Richard Nixon, gave speeches the night before the attack, the panel says, urging Trump’s supporters to reject the election results.
It was the second legal blow inside a week for Jones, who has just been found liable for defamation in a lawsuit brought by parents of children killed in the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Thompson says Jones repeatedly promoted Trump’s false claims of election fraud and urged his listeners to come to Washington for the rally. He is also said to have marched from the Ellipse to the Capitol.
Stone, whose 40-month prison sentence for lying to Congress was commuted by Trump last July, used members of the far-right Oath Keepers group as personal security guards while he was in Washington.
Some 57 members of the 100-seat Senate — including seven from his own party — voted to convict Trump after he was impeached for inciting the January 6 riot, although this fell short of the two-thirds majority required to unseat a president. — AFP