WASHINGTON. The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol issued two subpoenas on Wednesday to white nationalist leaders who helped draw a crowd in Washington ahead of the riots.
The committee issued subpoenas to Nicholas J. Fuentes and Patrick Casey, whom the commission identified as leaders of the America First or Groyper movement, and who were on the Capitol grounds on January 6 last year. Mr. Fuentes, a white nationalist, online provocateur and activist, has allied himself with Representative Paul Gosar, a far-right Arizona Republican who has promoted congressional objections to confirming President Biden’s victory.
The subpoenas showed the committee’s increased focus on rallies that led to mob violence and how extremist views were drawn to former President Donald Trump’s false allegations of widespread electoral fraud.
The commission instructed the men to submit documents related to their activities and be interviewed in February.
“The Select Committee is seeking evidence about the planning, coordination, and financing of events that preceded the violent attack on our democracy,” said Representative Benny Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and chairman of the committee. “We believe the individuals we have subpoenaed today have information relevant to these matters and we expect them to cooperate with the committee.”
The committee stated that two men participated in a series of events leading up to January 6 in which they promoted false claims about the election, including two rallies in Washington DC where they called for the destruction of the Republican Party for failing to reverse the election results.
According to reports cited by the committee, both Mr Fuentes and Mr Casey received tens of thousands of dollars in bitcoin from a French programmer. The group said the FBI looked into the money carefully to determine if it was related to the attack on the Capitol or otherwise used to fund illegal activities.
Mr. Fuentes participated in both the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., and outside the Capitol on January 6, 2021. He promoted the idea that the nation was losing “its white demographic core”. Other conservative organizations condemned him as a Holocaust denier and racist.
However, Mr. Fuentes has found an ally in Mr. Gosar, who came under fire in November after the publication of an animated video of him killing a Democratic congresswoman and attacking Mr. Biden.
Mr. Gosar was the keynote speaker at a conference organized by Mr. Fuentes’ group last year, the only member of Congress to attend. Mr. Gosar circulated the America First motto and projects on Twitter and wrote a letter to the FBI on Congressional letterhead in defense of Mr. Fuentes. In return, Mr. Fuentes praised Mr. Gosar on his show and on social media and encouraged his followers to donate money to his campaign.
At least one of Mr. Fuentes’ followers, Christian Secor, a California college student, was accused of breaking into the Capitol on Jan. 6. Mr. Secor, who broke into the Senate floor with an America First flag, posted a photo of himself. posing with Mr. Fuentes on Twitter ahead of the attack with the caption: “What epic doe?”
Key Figures in the January 6 Investigation
When the attack on the Capitol began, Mr. Casey wrote on Telegram at 2:30 p.m.: “It’s happening.”
The day after the attack, Mr. Fuentes tweeted that the assault on the Capitol was “amazing and I’m not going to pretend it wasn’t.”
In June of that year, Mr. Fuentes again supported the mayhem on January 6, adding, “And Trump was amazing because he was a racist. Trump was amazing because he was sexist.”
Mr. Fuentes is also an associate of Ali Alexander, a prominent Stop Theft organizer who praised him, despite his racist views, for his ability to draw a crowd. Mr. Alexander cooperated with the committee on January 6 and handed over voluminous documents.
The group said that Mr. Casey allegedly ended his relationship with Mr. Fuentes after the January 6 attack.
On Telegram, Mr Fuentes complained on Wednesday that the committee had not announced his subpoena separately. “They couldn’t give me my own post? What a mess,” he wrote.
The two men could not be contacted for comment.
Kathy Edmondson made a report.