The House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack has subpoenaed four former Trump campaign officials and advisers, including former mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani, who once served as Trump’s personal lawyer.
According to the January 6 commission, Giuliani “actively promoted claims of election fraud on behalf of the former President and sought to convince state legislators to take steps to overturn the election results.” None of Giuliani’s claims about fraud in the 2020 election have ever been proven – and most of them have been outright debunked by fact-checking news outlets.
The commission subpoenaed three additional members of Trump’s inner circle on Tuesday, including: Sidney Powell, a Trump-allied lawyer who filed numerous lawsuits seeking to overturn election results in states that President Joe Biden won; Jenna Ellis, a legal adviser to the Trump campaign who helped prepare and circulate a plan to disregard certain states’ electors in the Electoral College; and Boris Epshteyn, a Republican strategist and adviser to Trump who discussed options to delay the election’s certification on the morning of January 6.
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“The Select Committee is looking into the causes that contributed to the violence on January 6th, including attempts to promote unsupported claims of election fraud and pressure campaigns to overturn the 2020 election results,” commission chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi) said in a statement. “The four individuals we’ve subpoenaed today advanced unsupported theories about election fraud, pushed efforts to overturn the election results, or were in direct contact with the former President about attempts to stop the counting of electoral votes.”
It appears that at least some of the individuals will try to fight the subpoena orders.
“This is a grandstand theatrical political play because the committee cannot seriously think that they can subpoena four lawyers and actually obtain factual information in violation of the attorney-client privilege,” said Robert Costello, an attorney representing Giuliani.
However, Giuliani pushed lies about the election publicly, outside of his position as a lawyer for Trump – and Giuliani’s privileges aren’t protected if he was advising Trump to commit a crime.
In addition to these four subpoenas, the January 6 commission has also subpoenaed (and obtained) phone records from Eric Trump, the former president’s son, and Kimberly Guilfoyle, a Trump adviser and fiancee to Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.
The subpoenas for Eric Trump’s and Guilfoyle’s phone records relating to the January 6 attack were issued to phone companies; according to reporting from CNN, this was the first instance of the commission targeting records of Trump family members.
It’s possible that the commission has recognized how difficult it will be to get Trump or his family members to cooperate with their work, even if they do appear in person before the select committee sometime in the future. Indeed, during a six-hour deposition that was part of an investigation on Trump Organization properties and values led by New York state Attorney General Letitia James, Eric Trump invoked the Fifth Amendment more than 500 times to avoid answering questions.
On Tuesday, James announced that as part of her civil investigation into the Trump Organization, her office has discovered that Trump and his family members have “falsely and fraudulently valued multiple assets and misrepresented those values to financial institutions for economic benefit.”