The House committee investigating the riot at the U.S. Capitol issued a pair of subpoenas Wednesday to far-right activists, saying they encouraged Donald Trump supporters to come to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 to challenge the outcome of the 2020 election.
Nick Fuentes and Patrick Casey, leaders of the “America First” or “Groyper” movement, urged others to come to the Capitol on the day Congress was counting the Electoral College votes, and cheered on rioters, Committee Chair Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., wrote in letters released by the panel.
Fuentes and Casey both went to the Capitol on Jan. 6 but apparently did not enter the building. Thompson said Fuentes called on his supporters “to continue occupying the Capitol until the election results are overturned.” The next day, he tweeted that the “siege” was “awesome and I’m not going to pretend it wasn’t.”
Fuentes, who first gained national attention while attending the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, led “Stop the Steal” rallies in various states after the 2020 election, and told rallygoers in Michigan in November 2020 that they should be “more feral” in their efforts to overturn the results, Thompson wrote. At a different rally in Washington the same month, Fuentes encouraged supporters to “storm every state capitol” until “President Trump is inaugurated for four more years,” the letter said.
In Wednesday’s letters, Thompson noted that both Fuentes and Casey are being scrutinized by the FBI over Bitcoin payments they received from a French computer programmer in the weeks before the riot. Fuentes was paid $250,000 and Casey was paid $25,000. NBC News reported last year that investigators were probing if the programmer’s payments to Fuentes and others were related to the riot.
Casey could not be reached for comment, while Fuentes’ attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Thompson’s letters noted that Fuentes and Casey told the committee in November that they would not cooperate with the investigation.
Dareh Gregorian is a politics reporter for NBC News.
Leigh Ann Caldwell is an NBC News correspondent.