Jan 20, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Jan. 6 panel subpoenas 2 far-right "America First" activists

The House panel investigating the Capitol riot, from left; Reps. Bennie Thompson, Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger and Jamie Raskin, on Capitol Hill in December.
The House panel investigating the Capitol riot, from left: Reps. Bennie Thompson, Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger and Jamie Raskin, on Capitol Hill in December. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the Capitol riot issued subpoenas Wednesday for far-right leaders Nick Fuentes and Patrick Casey, who allegedly encouraged followers to go to D.C. and challenge the 2020 presidential election results.

Why it matters: The action underscores the panel's increasing focus on rallies held ahead of the Capitol attack and how extremists were drawn to former President Trump's baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, per the New York Times.

  • The panel also appears to be looking into the funding of events connected to the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.
  • Chair Bennie Thompson noted in a statement that public reports indicate "Fuentes and Casey received tens of thousands of dollars in Bitcoin from a French computer programmer, funds the FBI has scrutinized to assess whether funds from this donor were linked to the Capitol attack or otherwise used to fund illegal activity."

The big picture: The panel is demanding records and testimony by Feb. 9 from the pair, who are both "leaders of the 'America First' or 'Groyper movement,'" a group of white nationalists and far-right activists, according to Thompson.

  • "The Select Committee is seeking facts about the planning, coordination, and funding of events that preceded the violent attack on our democracy," Thompson said.
  • "We believe the individuals we have subpoenaed today have information relevant to those questions, and we expect them to cooperate with the committee," he added.

Zoom in: Fuentes and Casey were both present on the Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, 2021, and also made false claims about the election during events in the lead-up to the insurrection, including at a November 2020 march in D.C. "calling for Trump to rule for life," per Thompson.

  • At that march, Fuentes urged followers to "storm every state capital until January 20, 2021, until President Trump is inaugurated for four more years," according to the panel's letter to Fuentes — who's been labeled a "white supremacist" by the Justice Department.
  • The pair also spoke at a December 2020 rally in D.C. "calling for the destruction of the Republican Party for failing to overturn the election," the committee states in letters to both men.
  • The two men could not immediately be reached for comment.
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