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Judge rejects RNC’s case to block committee summons on January 6 to email provider

Washington – A federal judge in Washington, DC, rejected an attempt by the Republican National Committee (RNC) to block a summons from Parliament’s committee investigating the attack on the Capitol on January 6, and ruled late Sunday that the panel may demand records from the party. e-mail. provider of fundraising.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly, appointed by former President Donald Trump, is a major victory for the Panel of Representatives, as he vehemently rejected the RNC’s claims that the committee lacks the proper authorization to exercise investigative powers and that its subpoena to Salesforce, the third-party vendor, failed to promote a valid regulatory purpose.

Kelly dismissed the RNC’s claims against the House Committee, its members and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, finding that they were immune from the matter under the Constitution’s speech or debate clause. He also sued the RNC for its remaining claims against Salesforce, the email marketing giant used by the party and the Trump campaign, and found that they “fall short” because of “the highly differentiated assessment the court must give. The investigative power of Congress and the nature of the materials in question. “

“This case presents an unusual scrub of procedural and substantive issues, partly because of the way the select committee decided to defend the case; partly because of the extremely rare sight in which a congressional committee summoned the records of one of our country’s “two large political parties; and in part because these records are with the RNC’s third-party supplier, rather than the RNC itself,” he wrote.

While Kelly affirmed the summons from the select committee to Salesforce, he said the company could not immediately deliver any of the records to the panel before Thursday, giving RNC time to appeal his decision.

The select committee issued its summons to Salesforce in late February after being told that as the provider of the RNC and Trump re-election campaign during the 2020 election cycle, the two entities sent hundreds of emails using a Salesforce -owned tool between election day and January 6th.

An email sent on January 6, just before Trump’s supporters broke in at the Capitol Gate, urged Trump’s supporters to “step up”.

The committee told Salesforce in a letter requesting the records that it was seeking information on whether and how the Trump campaign used its platform to spread false statements about the election in the weeks leading up to the January 6 attack. It specifically required five categories of information, including records of login sessions of Trump campaign or RNC employees for Salesforce’s platform, and documents regarding investigative reports or analyzes from Salesforce regarding events in Washington on January 5 or January 6.

However, the RNC brought a lawsuit challenging the application on 9 March, arguing in part that the claim was contrary to the first and fourth amendments, was too broad and did not promote a valid legislative purpose.

In his view, Kelly noted that the scope of the lawsuit was greatly narrowed following negotiations between the House Select Committee and Salesforce. He also said investigators had a “strong” interest in seeking the records from Salesforce, and the subpoena was part of Congress’ “unequivocally” and “important” investigation into the January 6 uprising.

“In fact, it is difficult to imagine a more important interest for Congress than maintaining its own ability to perform specific tasks assigned to it by the Constitution,” he wrote, adding: “according to the committee, its study and public reports suggest that allegations that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent or stolen motivated some who participated in the attack, and emails sent by the RNC and the Trump campaign using Salesforce’s platform spread those allegations. committee information that will help it understand if and how much these e-mail campaigns attracted attention and thus was a factor in the January 6 attack. “

Kelly also rejected the RNC’s arguments that the subpoena was too broad and an attempt by congressional Democrats to expose their opponents’ internal considerations and strategy.

“The select committee is hardly on an unlimited ‘fishing expedition’ in the RNC’s records,” he wrote. “It has requested information relating only to emails sent from November 3, 2020 to January 6, 2021. The two-month window is clearly relevant to its investigation into the causes of the January 6 attack.”

The panel of representatives had stressed that the summons to Salesforce would help investigators understand the impact of the fake messages sent before January 6, the flow of funds and whether contributions to the RNC and the Trump campaign were aimed at the purpose that was specified in fundraising emails.

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