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House Jan. 6 committee subpoenas Trump speechwriter, two GOP strategists

Then-President Trump waves at Jan. 6, 2021, rally
Then-President Trump arrives to speak at the rally in Washington that preceded the assault on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
(Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)

The House panel investigating the U.S. Capitol insurrection is demanding records and testimony from a former White House aide who it says helped draft then-President Trump’s Jan. 6 speech, along with two GOP strategists who it says were in communication with people close to Trump.

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the chairman of the panel, issued subpoenas Tuesday to Andy Surabian and Arthur Schwartz, strategists who advised Donald Trump Jr., and to Ross Worthington, a former White House official who the committee says helped write the fiery speech Trump gave at the rally directly preceding last year’s attack.

“We have reason to believe the individuals we’ve subpoenaed today have relevant information and we expect them to join the more than 340 individuals who have spoken with the Select Committee as we push ahead to investigate this attack on our democracy and ensure nothing like this ever happens again,” Thompson said in a letter Tuesday.

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Worthington is a former Trump White House and campaign aide who served as a speechwriter and policy advisor. He had previously worked for former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Trump ally.

Surabian is a GOP strategist who has worked with Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., former Trump aide Stephen K. Bannon and others within the Trump orbit. The committee says that Surabian and Schwartz, another strategist who has worked with Trump Jr. and Bannon, communicated with people including Trump Jr. and his fiancee, Trump fundraiser Kimberly Guilfoyle, regarding the Jan. 6 rally.

An attorney representing Surabian said his client would cooperate with the committee “within reason,” but does not understand why the subpoena was issued in the first place.

Never-before-seen footage of the chaos during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, from Los Angeles Times photographer Kent Nishimura’s GoPro.

“He had nothing at all to do with the events that took place at the [Capitol] that day, zero involvement in organizing the rally that preceded it and was off the payroll of the Trump campaign as of November 15, 2020,” Daniel Bean, an attorney representing Surabian, said in a statement.

Schwartz had no comment when reached by the Associated Press on Tuesday, and Worthington did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Trump at the time was pushing false claims of widespread voter fraud and lobbying Vice President Mike Pence and Republican members of Congress to try to overturn the count at the Jan. 6 congressional certification. Election officials across the country, along with the courts, have repeatedly dismissed Trump’s claims of voter fraud.


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