Lawyers for former President Donald Trump instructed four of his former aides to defy subpoenas issued by the House select committee investigating the January 6 riots at the Capitol. File Pool photo by Shawn Thew/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 7 (UPI) -- Former President Donald Trump is directing a group of former aides to defy a subpoena by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riots as the deadline for them to reply arrived Thursday.
The select committee last month ordered former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, former White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Daniel Scavino, former Defense Department official Kashyap Patel and former Trump adviser Stephen Bannon to present documents related to the Jan. 6 insurrection by Thursday and appear for interviews with investigators next week.
However, in a letter to the former aides obtained by Bloomberg and Politico, Trump's lawyers told them not to comply with the order, stating the records sought by the committee are protected by executive privilege and other immunities.
"President Trump is prepared to defend these fundamental privileges in court," the letter states.
The letter also stated that presidential aides are immune from being forced to testify about their official responsibilities.
It wasn't immediately clear how members of the committee would seek to enforce the subpoena but members have previously said they may ask the Justice Department to prosecute witnesses who do not comply, potentially leaving them to face a year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000 if convicted of criminal contempt of Congress.
Committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., told The Washington Post last month that "there's no such thing as a former president's executive privilege."
"That's extremely dilute and not really relevant," Raskin said.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki also said a decision was made not to shield any Trump-era records, but another White House representative later said the administration would make such calls on a "case-by-case" basis.
All four former Trump aides subpoenaed by the committee were described as "individuals with close ties" to Trump who were working in or had communications with the White House in the days leading up to the insurrection.
Meadows allegedly communicated with officials at the state level and in the Department of Justice in efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election or prevent their certification while Patel, who was serving as chief of staff to acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller at the time of the insurrection, was allegedly involved in conversations among Pentagon officials regarding security at the Capitol.
Scavino and Bannon allegedly met with Trump the day before the riots to discuss efforts to convince lawmakers to block the certification of the election.
The committee has also subpoenaed 11 Trump allies who were involved in organizing the "Stop the Steal" rally held prior to the attack occurring in Washington, D.C.
Capitol Hill police salute the passing of the funeral hearse on Sunday for slain Officer Brian Sicknick, who died in the rioting at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo