Jan 6 Panel Subpoenas Rudy Giuliani 01/19 06:08
The House committee investigating the U.S. Capitol insurrection issued
subpoenas to Rudy Giuliani and other members of Donald Trump's legal team who
filed bogus legal challenges to the 2020 election that fueled the lie that race
had been stolen from the former president.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The House committee investigating the U.S. Capitol
insurrection issued subpoenas to Rudy Giuliani and other members of Donald
Trump's legal team who filed bogus legal challenges to the 2020 election that
fueled the lie that race had been stolen from the former president.
The committee is continuing to widen its scope into Trump's orbit, on
Tuesday demanding information and testimony from Giuliani, Jenna Ellis, Sidney
Powell and Boris Epshteyn. All four publicly pushed Trump's baseless voter
fraud claims in the months after the election.
"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," Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, Democratic chairman of
the panel, said in a statement.
Epshteyn in a tweet called the committee illegitimate and its efforts part
of a "witch hunt" against Trump and his supporters. The others who were
subpoenaed did not respond to messages seeking comment.
Trump's legal team sought to overturn the election results in the
battleground states by filing lawsuits alleging widespread irregularities with
ballots and claims by partisan poll watchers who said they couldn't see
everything going on, in part because of precautions taken as a result of the
COVID-19 pandemic. More than 50 lawsuits were filed, mostly in battleground
The lawsuits were soundly batted down in the courts, sometimes within days
of filing. But the legal challenges and the multiple press conferences held by
Giuliani and others helped galvanize Trump supporters behind the idea that the
election had been stolen, even though Trump's own attorney general said there
was no evidence of widespread fraud, and local officials said it had been the
most secure election in history.
The committee said it is seeking records and deposition testimony from
Giuliani, the 76-year-old former New York City mayor once celebrated for his
leadership after 9/11, over his promotion of election fraud claims on behalf of
Trump. The panel is also seeking information about Giuliani's reported efforts
to persuade state legislators to take steps to overturn the election results.
Also on Tuesday, the Justice Department notified a federal appeals court
that it planned to turn over some Trump records sought by the Jan. 6 committee
by 6 p.m. Wednesday barring a new court order.
Trump sued last year to try to stop the committee from receiving notes and
other documents even after Biden waived executive privilege. While the federal
appeals court in Washington rejected Trump's request, the court delayed any
release of records while the U.S. Supreme Court considers the case.
The Justice Department argued Tuesday that the appeals court opinion doesn't
cover a batch of records for which Biden waived executive privilege after Trump
originally sued. It said Trump had been given 30 days' notice in mid-December
to seek a new stay. The appeals court could still intervene to block any
Four days after the Nov. 3, 2020, election, while The Associated Press and
other media outlets were calling it for Joe Biden, Giuliani held a press
conference at a landscaping company in Philadelphia to announce his team
planned to challenge the election results. It was the beginning of a pressure
campaign to allot electoral votes in battleground states where Biden won over
to Trump instead.
Ellis and Powell also appeared with Giuliani at press conferences, pushing
false claims of election fraud, and Giuliani met with local elected officials
to push false theories about corrupt voting systems. Powell was eventually
removed from the team after she said in an interview she was going to release
"the kraken" of lawsuits.
Giuliani even appeared in a Pennsylvania courtroom for the first time in
nearly three decades to argue an election case. During the course of the
hearing, he fiddled with his Twitter account, forgot which judge he was talking
to and threw around false accusations about a nationwide conspiracy by
Democrats to steal the election.
The lawsuit had been Trump's best-case scenario t o overturn the election
using the courts -- not because of the facts of the case but because of the
number of electoral votes at stake, 20.
"One might expect that when seeking such a startling outcome, a plaintiff
would come formidably armed with compelling legal arguments and factual proof
of rampant corruption," Judge Matthew Brann wrote at the time. "That has not
Giuliani was a reliable cheerleader for Trump through much of his
presidency, serving on his legal team during special counsel Robert Mueller's
Russia investigation and defending him in repeated television news appearances.
But he also found himself personally entangled in Trump's own political and
He was a central character in the first impeachment case against Trump,
focused around the former president's efforts to get Ukraine to dig up dirt on
Democratic challenger Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Federal investigators last
year raided Giuliani's home in New York as part of an investigation into his
own Ukraine work.
And Giuliani spoke at the rally in front of the White House that preceded
the Jan. 6 insurrection. Like Trump, he suggested the certification of Biden's
victory was an existential crisis for the country and used rhetoric that
alluded to violence.
"Let's have trial by combat," Giuliani said. "I'm willing to stake my
reputation, the President is willing to stake his reputation, on the fact that
we're going to find criminality there."
His speech came after dozens of judges -- including the U.S. Supreme Court,
with three Trump nominees -- rejected every significant claim of alleged voter
fraud brought by Giuliani and other lawyers. More than a year later, there
still is no evidence of criminality. Even a widely criticized review ordered by
Republicans in Arizona, one of the states Biden flipped to Democrats in 2020,
did not produce proof to support Trump's false claims.
The nine-member panel is also demanding information from Ellis, a legal
adviser who the lawmakers say reportedly prepared and circulated two memos that
analyzed the constitutional authority for then-Vice President Mike Pence to
reject or delay counting the electoral votes from states that had submitted
alternate slates of electors. Pence said he had no such authority.
Besides Giuliani, Powell was the most public face of Trump's attempts to
contest the election, routinely making appearances on behalf of the president.
In numerous interviews and appearances post-election, Powell continued to
make misleading statements about the voting process, unfurled unsupported and
complex conspiracy theories involving communist regimes and vowed to "blow up"
Georgia with a "biblical" court filing.
Powell and another pro-Trump lawyer -- Lin Wood, not yet named by the
committee -- were eventually ordered to pay $175,000 by a court after they
filed frivolous election lawsuits in Michigan.
The last person subpoenaed Tuesday by the committee is Epshteyn, a former
Trump campaign strategic adviser, who reportedly attended meetings at the
Willard Hotel in the days leading up to the insurrection. The committee said
Epshteyn had a call with Trump on the morning of Jan. 6, 2021, to discuss
options to delay the certification of election results in the event of Pence's
unwillingness to deny or delay the process.