President Donald Trump is directing his former aides to defy subpoenas issued by the House select committee investigating the riot at the U.S. Capitol, a source familiar with the matter told NBC News on Thursday.
Politico was first to report Trump’s instructions to his allies.
This comes after the committee has ramped up its probe, issuing several new subpoenas on Thursday for the organizers of the pro-Trump Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally.
“The rally on the Capitol grounds on January 6th, like the rally near the White House that day, immediately preceded the violent attack on the seat of our democracy,” committee chairman Bennie Thompson said of the subpoenas to Ali Alexander and Nathan Martin for testimony and documents.
“The Select Committee needs to understand all the details about the events that came before the attack, including who was involved in planning and funding them. We expect these witnesses to cooperate fully with our probe,” Thompson said.
The new subpoenas came as a group of former top Trump aides appeared to be heading for a showdown with the committee, after failing to turn over subpoenaed documents by Thursday’s deadline.
Trump had vowed to fight the subpoenas against the aides, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, former White House strategist Steve Bannon, former social media director Dan Scavino and Kashyap Patel, who was chief of staff to Trump’s defense secretary.
All four faced a Thursday deadline to turn over documents to the committee, and had not complied as of Thursday afternoon. The four did not respond to requests for comment from NBC News.
A spokesman for former President Donald Trump’s political action committee, Taylor Budowich, said, “The highly partisan, Communist-style ‘select committee’ has put forth an outrageously broad records request that lacks both legal precedent and legislative merit. Executive privilege will be defended, not just on behalf of President Trump and his administration, but also on behalf of the Office of the President of the United States and the future of our nation.”
Thompson told NBC News last week the committee would most likely send criminal contempt referrals for witnesses who don’t comply with the subpoenas. “We’ll do criminal referrals, and let that process work out,” he said.
Jonathan Allen and Dartunorro Clark contributed.