Four former aides to Donald Trump, among them his chief of staff and top political adviser, have been issued subpoenas by the committee investigating the 6 January riot at the US Capitol.
The special select committee of the House of Representatives established to look into the events of the day when hundreds of supporters of the former president stormed the legislature building, subpoenaed former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, former White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Dan Scavino, former Defence Department official Kashyap Patel and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon.
The committee chairman, Democratic congressman Bennie Thompson from Mississippi, issued letters to the four to say he was investigating “the facts, circumstances, and causes” of the attack and asked them to produce documents and appear at depositions at some time in the middle of next month.
The committee was established by House speaker Nancy Pelosi to probe the incident that led to at least 600 arrests and was considered the worst day of violence at the Capitol since the British invasion during the War of 1812.
The attack on the Capitol followed an incendiary speech by Mr Trump, as part of his “stop the steal” campaign, in which he repeated his false claim that the the 2020 election had been rigged.
Donald Trump acquitted on charge of inciting US Capitol riot
Despite the violence that ensued that day, 147 elected Republican politicians refused to vote to certify the election victory of Joe Biden.
A number of Republican politicians said they felt threatened duing the episode, including then House minority leader Kevin McCarthy who said Mr Trump “bears responsibility” for the attack, there but there has been little GOP appetite to punish the outgoing president.
As it was, while the House impeached Mr Trump for the second time for alleged incitement, the Senate did not vote to confirm the punishment and he avoided further congressional censure.
The majority of Republicans also did want to take part in any process to investigate the causes of the riot, or how to better protect against a repeat of one.
The party’s leadership dismissed the establishment of an independent panel, something akin the one set up after the attacks of 9/11. They also did not want to participate in a congressional investigation.
In the end, the most senior member of the party to accept the invitation from Ms Pelosi to sit on the committee, was Wyoming congressman Liz Cheney, a former chair of the GOP House caucus, who was stripped of her job after blaming Mr Trump for the riot and voting for his impeachment.
The New York Times said the letters issued on Thursday claim Mr Bannon was present at a meeting at the Willard Hotel in Washington DC the day before the violence, when plans were discussed to try to overturn the results of the election.
“All hell is going to break loose tomorrow,” he is quoted as saying.
The letter claims Mr Meadows was involved in the planning of efforts to subvert the results of the election, and that Mr Scavino was in contact with Mr Trump and others who planned the rallies that preceded the attack.
It said Mr Patel was reportedly in constant contact with Mr Meadows on the day of the assault.
There was no immediate response to the subpoenas from Mr Trump.
Additional reporting by agencies