Trump aide subpoenaed over Capitol attack

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The House of Representatives panel investigating the US Capitol insurrection is demanding records and testimony from a former White House aide they say helped draft former president Donald Trump's speech that day.

The panel is also seeking the same from two others it says were in communication with people close to Trump.

Mississippi Representative Bennie Thompson, Democratic chairman of the panel, issued subpoenas on Tuesday to Andy Surabian and Arthur Schwartz, strategists who advised Donald Trump Jr, and Ross Worthington, a former White House official who the committee says helped draft the speech Trump gave at the rally directly preceding the January 6, 2021 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.

Worthington is a former Trump White House and campaign aide who served as a speechwriter and policy adviser. 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, Trump Jr, former Trump strategist Steve Bannon and others within the Trump orbit.

The committee alleges he and Schwartz, another strategist who has worked with Trump Jr and Bannon, communicated with people including Trump Jr and his fiancee and Trump fundraiser Kimberly Guilfoyle regarding the rally on the Ellipse.

A lawyer representing Surabian said his client will cooperate with the committee "within reason," but does not understand why the subpoena was issued in the first place.

"He had nothing at all to do with the events that took place at the Capital that day, zero involvement in organising the rally that preceded it and was off the payroll of the Trump campaign as of November 15, 2020," Daniel Bean, a lawyer 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 January 6 congressional certification.

Election officials across the country, along with the courts, had repeatedly dismissed Trump's claims.

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