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New round of Jan. 6 subpoenas targets promoters of election fraud claims

Recipients included lawyer Cleta Mitchell and One America News Network anchor Christina Bobb.
Trump supporters storm the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Samuel Corum / Getty Images file

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol said Tuesday it had subpoenaed six people "who promoted false claims that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent," signifying a new focus by the panel.

The committee said it sent subpoenas to One America News Network anchor Christina Bobb, lawyer Cleta Mitchell and other Trump-allied attorneys.

In a letter to Bobb, committee Chair Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said the panel's investigation "has revealed credible evidence that you publicly promoted claims that the November 2020 election was stolen and participated in attempts to disrupt or delay the certification of the election results based on those claims."

He also said she was "reportedly involved in efforts to draft an executive order for President Trump that would have directed federal agencies to seize voting machines in numerous contested states" and was "present in the 'war room' of Rudy Giuliani’s legal team in the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021."

In his letter to Mitchell, Thompson said the committee had evidence that she "actively promoted claims of election fraud on behalf of former President Trump and sought to convince state and federal officials to take steps to overturn the results."

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Cleta Mitchell.Anna Moneymaker / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

Thompson also noted that Mitchell, a prominent conservative lawyer, "participated in a call in which President Trump pressured the Georgia Secretary of State to 'find' enough votes to reverse his loss there."

Others who were subpoenaed include Kurt Olsen, a Trump lawyer who sent emails urging the Justice Department to file a lawsuit with the Supreme Court challenging President Joe Biden’s election win.

Thompson’s letter said that “according to materials on file with the Select Committee, you had multiple telephone calls with former President Trump on January 6, 2021.”

The committee did not disclose how it obtained the materials. The panel gained access to Trump’s White House phone logs from the National Archives after a lengthy legal battle that reached the Supreme Court.

Bobb, Olsen and lawyers for Mitchell did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Mitchell sued the Jan. 6 committee last month, seeking to block it from obtaining her phone records from AT&T. The suit argued that the subpoena "violates the protections and privileges Ms. Mitchell has as a citizen and as an attorney" and maintains she did nothing to merit being investigated.

"Ms. Mitchell's legal work in Georgia during late 2020 and early 2021 was entirely lawful, protected under the First Amendment, and wholly unrelated to the events that took place in Washington, D.C., on January 6th," her lawsuit said.

Trump and his allies repeatedly peddled false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, pushing various unproven conspiracy theories as hard facts. The committee has said those lies helped incite the attack on the Capitol.

Thompson said last week that the panel had interviewed more than 550 witnesses.

The other subpoenas issued Tuesday went to lawyer Katherine Friess, who Thompson said was involved "in efforts to subpoena voting machines from county election boards"; former Kansas Attorney General Phillip Kline, who the panel said convened a meeting between Trump and state legislators "to disseminate purported evidence of election fraud"; and Kenneth Chesebro, a lawyer who "actively promoted legal theories within the Trump campaign supporting the use of alternate slates of electors in states that former President Trump had lost."

Friess, Kline and Chesebro did not immediately respond to requests for comment.