Congressional committee demands answers from coup d’etat plotter

The House select committee investigating the failed coup d’etat on January 6 announced that it has subpoenaed James P. “Phil” Waldron, the retired Army colonel who spread misinformation about election fraud and created a PowerPoint document detailing ways to undermine the 2020 presidential election results.

Waldron has until January 11 to comply with the demand and the January 6th Committee voted to refer former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to the Department of Justice for criminal contempt charges.

After his defeat in the 2020 election, then-President Donald Trump concocted the lie that his opponent’s victory was achieved through fraud and illegalities, repeating the false claim so often that a mob of his supporters attacked the US Capitol while members of Congress were certifying the Electoral College vote result.

Waldron claimed to have visited the White House on multiple occasions after the election, spoken to Meadows “maybe 8 to 10 times,” and briefed several members of Congress on election fraud theories.

He also publicly acknowledged contributing to the creation of a PowerPoint presentation that was given to, or described for, Republican Members of Congress on the eve of January 6th.

Waldron also participated in meetings at the Willard Hotel in early January 2021.

A 38-page PowerPoint presentation with the exact title as the one that Waldron created was turned over to the House of Representatives select committee investigating the 6 January insurrection by Meadows.

The Waldron document falsely alleged that China had effective control of American voting machines and urged the declaration of a “national security emergency” as a pretext for throwing out election results in several US states.

Adam Kinzinger, one of two Republicans on the House committee investigating the deadly 6 January Capitol attack incited by Trump, who was desperate to hold on to power, said that the panel was investigating the likelihood that the former president is guilty of a crime.

“Nobody is above the law,” the Illinois congressman told CNN’s State of the Union. “And if the president knowingly allowed what happened on 6 January to happen, and, in fact, was giddy about it, and that violates a criminal statute, he needs to be held accountable for that.”

The committee has been picking up pace in recent weeks with dozens of subpoenas issued, some to close Trump aides.

The waters lapped at the doors of Trump’s Oval Office this week when his fourth and final chief of staff, Meadows, became a focus of the investigation over tweets he received on and around the day of the insurrection.

Kinzinger, who alongside fellow Republican Liz Cheney has drawn the ire of Trump allies for serving on the committee, said he had no qualms about scrutinizing how Trump incited supporters to try to overturn his election defeat by Joe Biden, which he says was the result of massive electoral fraud, which it was not.

“He’s not a king,” Kinzinger said, “Former presidents, they aren’t former kings.”

Kinzinger added that he feared the events of 6 January were “trial run” for Trump and his allies to attempt another coup.

“We will get every bit of detail that we can possibly get on that, so that’s important for the president’s role,” he said. “I want to hold the people guilty accountable but I want to make sure this never happens again.

“Otherwise, 6 January will have been, yes, a failed trial run, but, sometimes, a failed trial run is the best practice to get one that succeeds, a coup that would succeed in toppling our government.”

Kinzinger’s comments are the strongest to date about the depth of the inquiry into Trump’s role.

The January 6 committee members did not identify who sent the messages but they revealed a number of texts exchanged with Meadows in the time leading up to and during the attempted coup d’etat.

They said that the messages are evidence showing how Meadows was in contempt of Congress after he reversed his decision to cooperate with the committee’s investigation.

“Mr. Meadows received numerous text messages, which he has produced without any privilege claim, imploring that Mr. Trump take specific action we all know his duty required,” said Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, one of two Republicans on the select committee.

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