First on CNN: Top Trump adviser Stephen Miller testifies to January 6 federal grand jury
By Katelyn Polantz and Hannah Rabinowitz, CNN
Former Trump adviser Stephen Miller testified on Tuesday to a federal grand jury in Washington, DC, as part of the January 6, 2021, investigation, CNN has learned, making him the first known witness to testify since the Justice Department appointed a special counsel to oversee the criminal investigations around the former president.
Miller was at the federal courthouse in downtown Washington for several hours throughout Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the investigation. January 6 lead prosecutor Thomas Windom was spotted at the same federal courthouse on Tuesday.
Windom is expected to join the newly created Special Counsel’s Office led by longtime public corruption prosecutor Jack Smith and will continue leading the investigation into former President Donald Trump’s role in efforts to impede the transfer of power following the 2020 election.
Federal investigators have for months sought information from Trump’s inner circle in the White House, attempting to gather insight into Trump’s state of mind before his supporters rioted on January 6.
Miller, a former White House speechwriter and senior adviser to Trump, could provide a firsthand account of the former president’s preparations for his speech at the Ellipse in Washington on January 6, including how he wanted to inspire his supporters, many of whom went on to attack the Capitol and disrupt Congress.
Miller was first subpoenaed in the federal criminal investigation months ago.
In April, Miller testified virtually for roughly eight hours before the House select committee investigating January 6 — a completely separate probe from the criminal investigation being run by the Justice Department.
According to findings the committee presented at a public hearing in July, Miller spoke to Trump for several minutes on the morning of January 6 about his planned speech at the Ellipse. After talking with Miller, Trump added a line to his speech about then-Vice President Mike Pence, according to the committee’s findings.
The committee said that Miller removed the lines about Pence after having a conversation with a White House lawyer, Eric Herschmann, who objected to the president’s edits, according to testimony from Miller. Yet when Trump gave the speech, it included several references to Pence.
At the time, Trump and others were pressuring Pence to block certification of the election. Pence ultimately refused and told Trump and others he had no authority to do so. During the Capitol riot, Trump supporters chanted, “Hang Mike Pence” and broke into restricted areas of the complex, prompting Pence to be evacuated from the Senate chamber.
In recent months, the January 6 investigation team led by Windom has secured decisions ordering top Pence aides to testify to the grand jury about some of the most guarded conversations around Trump after the election. And a parade of top advisers to Trump have had their cell phones seized or received grand jury subpoenas for testimony and documents related to the effort to overturn Trump’s electoral loss.
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CNN’s Kristen Holmes contributed to this report.