Politics

House Jan. 6 Committee Subpoenas White Nationalist Figures

WASHINGTON — The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol issued two subpoenas on Wednesday for the leaders of a white nationalist movement that helped bring a crowd to Washington ahead of the riot.

The committee issued subpoenas to Nicholas J. Fuentes and Patrick Casey, whom the panel described as leaders of the “America First” or “Groyper” movement and who were on the Capitol grounds last Jan. 6. Mr. Fuentes, a white nationalist, online provocateur and activist, has allied with Representative Paul Gosar, a far-right Republican from Arizona who helped lead objections in Congress to the certification of President Biden’s victory.

The subpoenas demonstrated the committee’s intensifying focus on the rallies that led up to the mob violence and how those with extremist views were drawn to former President Donald J. Trump’s false claims of widespread voter fraud.

The panel instructed the men to turn over documents related to their activities and submit to interviews in February.

“The Select Committee is seeking facts about the planning, coordination, and funding of events that preceded the violent attack on our democracy,” said Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and chairman of the committee. “We believe the individuals we have subpoenaed today have information relevant to those questions, and we expect them to cooperate with the committee.”

The committee said the two menhadparticipated in a series of events leading up to last Jan. 6, in which they promoted false claims about the election, including in Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia, and at two rallies in Washington where they called for the destruction of the Republican Party for failing to overturn the election.

At a November 2020 rally in Washington, Mr. Fuentes urged his followers to “storm every state capitol until Jan. 20, 2021, until President Trump is inaugurated for four more years.”

According to reports cited by the committee, both Mr. Fuentes and Mr. Casey received tens of thousands of dollars in Bitcoin from a French computer programmer. The F.B.I. has scrutinized that money to assess whether any of it was linked to the Capitol attack or otherwise used to fund illegal activity, the panel said.

Mr. Fuentes marched at both the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017 and outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. He has promoted a message that the nation is losing “its white demographic core.” Other conservative organizations have denounced him as a Holocaust denier and a racist.

Even so, Mr. Fuentes has found an ally in Mr. Gosar, who was censured in November after posting an animated video that depicted him killing a Democratic congresswoman and assaulting Mr. Biden.

Mr. Gosar was the keynote speaker at a conference hosted by Mr. Fuentes’s group last year, the only member of Congress to participate. Mr. Gosar has spread America First’s motto and projects on Twitter and written to the F.B.I. on congressional letterhead in Mr. Fuentes’s defense. In return, Mr. Fuentes has praised Mr. Gosar on his show and social media channels and urged his followers to donate money to his campaign.

At least one of Mr. Fuentes’s followers, Christian Secor, a California college student, has been charged with breaking into the Capitol on Jan. 6. Mr. Secor, who breached the Senate floor carrying an America First flag, posted a photo of himself posing with Mr. Fuentes on Twitter before the attack with a caption reading, “Kinda epic doe?”

As the Capitol attack began, Mr. Casey wrote on Telegram at 2:30 p.m., “It’s happening,” and Mr. Fuentes called on his followers to continue occupying the Capitol until the election results were overturned, proclaiming it a “Glorious day” on Twitter, the committee said.

Key Figures in the Jan. 6 Inquiry


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The House investigation. A select committee is scrutinizing the causes of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, which occurred as Congress met to formalize Joe Biden’s election victory amid various efforts to overturn the results. Here are some key figures in the inquiry:

Donald Trump. The former president’s movement and communications on Jan. 6 appear to be a focus of the inquiry. While Mr. Trump has invoked executive privilege in an attempt to shield his records, the Supreme Court refused to block the release of the files.

Kevin McCarthy. The panel has requested an interview with the House Republican leader about his contact with Mr. Trump during the riot. The California representative, who could become speaker of the House after the midterms in November, has refused to cooperate.

Rudolph Giuliani. The panel has subpoenaed Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer and three members of the legal team — Jenna Ellis, Sidney Powell and Boris Epshteyn — who pursued conspiracy-filled lawsuits that made claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election.

Mike Pence. The former vice president could be a key witness as the committee focuses on Mr. Trump’s responsibility for the riot and considers criminal referrals, but Mr. Pence reportedly has not decided whether to cooperate.

Mark Meadows. Mr. Trump’s chief of staff, who initially provided the panel with a trove of documents that showed the extent of his role in the efforts to overturn the election, is now refusing to cooperate. The House voted to recommend holding Mr. Meadows in criminal contempt of Congress.

Scott Perry and Jim Jordan. The Republican representatives of Pennsylvania and Ohio are among a group of G.O.P. congressmen who were deeply involved in efforts to overturn the election. Both Mr. Perry and Mr. Jordan have refused to cooperate with the panel.

Fox News anchors. ​​Texts between Sean Hannity and Trump officials in the days surrounding the riot illustrate the host’s unusually elevated role as an outside adviser. Mr. Hannity, along with Laura Ingraham and Brian Kilmeade, also texted Mr. Meadows as the riot unfolded.

Big Tech firms. The panel has criticized Alphabet, Meta, Reddit and Twitter for allowing extremism to spread on their platforms and saying they have failed to cooperate adequately with the inquiry. The committee has issued subpoenas to all four companies.

Steve Bannon. The former Trump aide has been charged with contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena, claiming protection under executive privilege even though he was an outside adviser. His trial is scheduled for next summer.

Michael Flynn. Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser attended an Oval Office meeting on Dec. 18 in which participants discussed seizing voting machines and invoking certain national security emergency powers. Mr. Flynn has filed a lawsuit to block the panel’s subpoenas.

Phil Waldron. The retired Army colonel has been under scrutiny since a 38-page PowerPoint document he circulated on Capitol Hill was turned over to the panel by Mr. Meadows. The document contained extreme plans to overturn the election.

Jeffrey Clark. The little-known Justice Department official repeatedly pushed his colleagues to help Mr. Trump undo his loss. The panel has recommended that Mr. Clark be held in criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate.

John Eastman. The lawyer has been the subject of intense scrutiny since writing a memo that laid out how Mr. Trump could stay in power. Mr. Eastman was present at a meeting of Trump allies at the Willard Hotel that has become a prime focus of the panel.

A day after the attack, Mr. Fuentes wrote on Twitter that the assault on the Capitol was “awesome and I’m not going to pretend it wasn’t.”

In June of that year, Mr. Fuentes again endorsed the mayhem of Jan. 6, adding: “And Trump was awesome because he was racist. Trump was awesome because he was sexist.”

Mr. Fuentes also is an associate of Ali Alexander, the prominent “Stop the Steal” organizer who has praised him, despite his racist views, for his ability to draw a crowd. Mr. Alexander is cooperating with the Jan. 6 committee and has turned over voluminous documents.

The panel said Mr. Casey reportedly broke ties with Mr. Fuentes after the Jan. 6 attack.

On Telegram, Mr. Fuentes complained Wednesday the committee didn’t announce his subpoena separately. “They couldn’t give me my own post? What a rip,” he wrote.

He added: “Also I wasn’t sent ‘tens of thousands of dollars in bitcoin,’ it was hundreds of thousands. Just saying.”

The two men could not be reached immediately for comment.

Catie Edmondson contributed reporting.

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