Last month's revelations about the Trump "brain trust" using a suite in DC's Willard Hotel as a coup command center seems to have motivated another round of subpoenas from the January 6th commission, according to The Guardian's Hugo Lowell.
The House select committee investigating the deadly attack on the US Capitol on 6 January is poised to issue subpoenas to top Trump lieutenants involved in attempting to subvert the 2020 election results from a “command center” at the Willard hotel in Washington, according to a source familiar with the matter.
The subpoenas, which could be issued as soon as next week, reflect the select committee’s interest in events at the hotel just across from the White House, where Donald Trump’s most loyal aides plotted to keep him in office.
The select committee is targeting about 20 individuals connected to the Trump command center at the Willard, among them the legal scholar John Eastman, who outlined ways to deny Joe Biden the presidency, the source said.
The subpoenas seeking documents and testimony are aimed at obtaining the legal advice offered to Trump on how he could manipulate events on 6 January to stop certification of Biden’s election win, the source said.
House investigators are moving to pursue Trump lieutenants who gathered at the Willard to uncover the “centers of gravity” from which Trump and his advisers conspired, the source said – and whether the former president had advance knowledge of the Capitol attack.
The select committee appears to be seeking a full account of what transpired in several suites at the Willard in the days leading up to 6 January and during a final “war room” meeting the night before the Capitol attack.
The select committee is targeting Eastman after it emerged that he outlined scenarios for overturning the election in a memorandum presented at a White House meeting on 4 January with Trump, former vice-president Mike Pence and Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows.
At that meeting, according to a source close to Trump, Eastman ran through the memo that detailed how at the joint session of Congress on 6 January Pence might refuse to certify electoral slates for Biden and thereby hand Trump a second term.
Which is all fine and good, but what I'm not seeing is any indication that AG Merrick Garland is going to do anything at all to Steve Bannon on the congressional contempt referral for refusing his subpoena from last month.
To many in Washington, the criminal contempt case against Steve Bannon appears cut and dried: The podcaster and former Trump adviser has openly spurned a congressional subpoena to testify in an investigation into the January 6 US Capitol attack, claiming to be covered by executive privilege even though he wasn't a government employee at the time.
But the longer it takes for the Justice Department to make a decision on whether to prosecute Bannon, the more questions swirl around whether this was the right strategy for congressional investigators. Democratic critics, already frustrated with Attorney General Merrick Garland over other moves, have focused their impatience over the Bannon referral on Garland because he has ultimate say on whether Bannon is prosecuted.
It's been more than two weeks since the House voted to refer Bannon's case to the Justice Department. Since then, Garland has said little publicly about the status of Bannon's referral, but some people close to the attorney general say his experience of being blocked from the Supreme Court by Republicans for partisan reasons means he's not unaware of the political forces he has to navigate.
While Justice officials say they expected criticism over the delay in making a decision on the Bannon criminal referral, Garland has established a methodical approach to making decisions, aware that the department will be criticized no matter which way it goes.
Justice Department officials tell CNN that prosecutors don't feel pressure to act more quickly. Given that criminal referrals are rare and even more rarely enforced by the department, the Bannon decision will be dissected for years to come so the lawyers have to be sure they get it right, officials say.
That's...actually a fair point, *if* Garland is going to prosecute. We simply don't know if he will. But keep in mind Garland not prosecuting will "be dissected for years to come" too.