House investigators target money trail behind January 6 rally
The Democrat-led panel focuses in part on understanding how event planners and vendors were paid and how the two rallies were funded, according to several sources familiar with the investigation, some of whom have been questioned by the committee. Investigators also want to know if funds come from domestic extremists or foreign sources, according to sources.
As the committee moves forward with its sweeping Jan. 6 investigation, among the many new details CNN has learned is the fact that the committee has divided its work into at least five investigative teams, each with its own designation of color.
The “green” team, for example, is responsible for tracking the money, including the funding behind the rallies, as well as unraveling the complex web of financial links between rally organizers and entities affiliated with the former president. Donald Trump or his campaign, according to several sources.
Some of the other teams such as the “red”, “blue” and “gold” teams look at everything from the motivation of the participants, whether there was coordination between the groups, and whether Trump used his executive authority to lobby. on lawmakers, former Vice President Mike Pence and the Justice Department, according to people familiar with the committee’s work.
“They are one of the most valuable leads for investigation,” Eisen added.
The committee is also reviewing law enforcement readiness and the use of intelligence in preparation for Jan.6, sources told CNN.
After the money
The panel has already interviewed several people involved in the rallies, according to several sources who participated in the discussions.
“There was a lot of money raised and a lot of money given, millions of dollars (…) to pay for buses, hotels, meals and accommodation,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, Democrat to the select committee. CNN this week. “A lot of the staff were from people who worked for Donald Trump during his campaign, and then just went to work on the rally stuff, so we’re going to get to the bottom of this stuff.”
The company is part of an ambitious committee investigation that, Raskin said Thursday, intends to create a “full inventory of everything that happened” that day. But disentangling the finances is a complicated endeavor, especially with the limits of information the committee can access without struggles against subpoenas and pressure to produce results before next year’s midterm elections.
The panel has already hired additional staff, including experienced financial investigators, who focus solely on this issue.
Among the new staff hired by the committee is Amanda Wick, a seasoned lawyer and investigator specializing in financial affairs, according to two sources familiar with the move. “By reputation, Wick is an exceptional and very experienced litigator who understands financial evidence and investigative avenues,” Eisen said, noting that she had previously worked on asset forfeiture issues and was a lawyer. long-standing at the Department of Justice.
Wick’s hiring is a sign that the committee is taking a deep look at financial issues, he told CNN. It also raises the question of whether the panel can ultimately make referrals on financial crimes if warranted, Eisen said.
Summons to appear to rally organizers
Last month, the House committee issued 11 subpoenas to the organizers of the two pro-Trump rallies on Jan. 5 and 6 that preceded the violent events on Capitol Hill. Investigators appear keenly interested in the official Ellipse event when Trump urged the crowd to use force and march to Capitol Hill, including information about Trump and the White House being involved in the planning of the gathering.
For example, the committee’s subpoena to Trump ally Steve Bannon asks for all documents related to funding the January 6 rally on the grounds of the National Mall and the Capitol. This includes “documents or other material related to fundraising or fundraising to help any individual or organization travel to or stay in Washington, DC, to attend or participate in the January 6, 2021 rally,” says the assignment.
Records reviewed by CNN show the committee requested specific financial records, including those that identify funding for the rally, travel and accommodation.
The committee is also looking for organizers with “Women for America First,” which helped with the Ellipse event, including Amy Kremer and Caroline Wren.
Wren was a major fundraiser for the Trump campaign and several sources interviewed by the committee said investigators were interested in his role in raising funds for the rally and the source of those funds. Wren was subpoenaed by the committee, which notes that she was a “VIP advisor” for the rally. CNN was unable to reach Wren or Kremer for comment.
“Caroline Wren has received tens of thousands of dollars as a consultant to the Trump campaign and RNC’s common fundraising committee,” Eisen told CNN, noting that she is just one of many people whose financial data could shed light on the degree of connection between the former president and the January 6 rally.
A source said the committee’s investigation included questions about security forces at the rallies and those associated with high profile guests such as Roger Stone.
The source also said the committee asked about the 1st Amendment Praetorian Group, a right-wing veterans and law enforcement organization that was on the list of unarmed security officers at the pro rally. -Trump of Freedom Plaza the day before the attack.
Documents released by the committee also show that there are outstanding questions regarding the permits obtained for the grounds of the Capitol complex. The subpoenas for Ali Alexander and Nathan Martin suggest that the committee believe the two were the cause of permitted events on the Capitol grounds.
The public portion of Alexander’s summons reveals that the committee is concerned that he was not entirely honest in arranging a permitted rally on the Capitol grounds.
“According to documents provided to the select committee, an alleged organization named ‘A Nation Under God’ submitted a permit application on or around December 21, 2020 to the United States Capitol Police (‘USCP’) for a rally that will be held on the US Capitol Grounds in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021, regarding “voter fraud in swing states,” the summons said.
The document goes on to say that a vendor on the permit application informed Capitol Police that he was reporting to Alexander and another person, Nathan Martin, and told officials that Alexander and Martin were “with Stop the Steal “or STS. The subpoena claims that Stop the Steal “advertised the Capitol rally event on at least two of its websites” and solicited donations “to offset the Jan.6 expenses,” according to the subpoena.
“However, the permit application did not reveal any link between STS and the Capitol rally,” the summons said.
Nathan Martin declined a request for comment. CNN was unable to reach Ali Alexander.
CNN’s Annie Grayer contributed to this report.