WASHINGTON (AP) — In an extraordinary move, the Jan. 6 committee voted unanimously to subpoena former President Donald Trump — a last-ditch effort to get the full story of the Capitol uprising as the panel continues its work toward the end of the year.
Trump Still Doesn’t Recognize The “Former” In Front Of “President”, And He Has Been Relentless hostile to the investigation. He called it a “charade and a witch hunt” in a letter to the committee on Friday – but specifically did not mention the subpoena or say whether he would comply with the requirement for his appearance.
The attempt to coerce Trump’s testimony comes as the commission ties together multiple threads of inquiry and prepares its final report. The panel is only authorized through: this congress, which ends on January 3rd.
A look at what’s next as the panel sprints to its finish:
THE TRUMP DAY REQUEST
The nine-member commission interviewed more than 1,000 witnesses, including many of the former president’s top White House staff. And they’ve drawn up a detailed timeline of Trump’s efforts to reverse his 2020 election defeat — including his inaction as his supporters. stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021. But they still want to hear from Trump himself.
Now that a subpoena has been approved — on Thursday — it must be delivered to Trump in writing. That move, expected early next week, will set a date for an interview and prepare requests for documents.
Trump and his lawyers will then decide how to respond. He can obey, negotiate with the commission, announce that he will defy the subpoena, or ignore it altogether. He can also go to court and try to stop it.
If Trump doesn’t comply, the panel will have to weigh the practical and political implications of a vote to hold him in contempt for Congress. If the full House voted to recommend such an indictment, the Justice Department would reconsider.
The commission took that step with some of Trump’s allies who refused to comply with subpoenas, including Steve Bannon, who was convicted of contempt in July. But scorning a former president would be another matter, an exceptional move for any Congress.
In his letter of Friday, Trump reiterated his false claims of widespread electoral fraud, saying he was writing to express “anger, disappointment and complaint” that the commission failed to investigate his claims. He also took the opportunity to brag again about the size of the crowd that gathered at the White House on the morning of January 6 for his speech, before sending them to the Capitol. He added aerial photos. He didn’t say anything about the subpoena.
Even if he adheres to this, there is reason to doubt whether Trump’s appearance would help the investigation. He did respond to some written questions from special counsel Robert Mueller during the investigation into Russian cooperation with his 2016 campaign, but his answers yielded little or nothing to advance the investigation. More recently, he appeared before a statement by the office of New York State Attorney General Letitia James, but invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination more than 400 times by refusing to answer questions.
WHAT ABOUT PENCE?
The committee is still in talks with lawyers for former Vice President Mike Pence, as has been the case for months. But it’s unclear whether lawmakers will subpoena the vice president or ask him to testify.
Several of Pence’s aides have spoken to investigators, some of whom have given many details about his moves and state of mind as he resisted Trump’s pleas to object to the election vote certification that day and their defeat to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. to turn back.
In the video shown Thursday during the committee’s final hearing before the midterm elections, Pence coordinated with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer for help while the rioters were inside the building, some of them calling for help. until Pence’s execution. The leaders worked with security officials to ensure they could return to the Capitol and confirm Biden’s victory.
A CRIMINAL REFERRAL?
The commission will also have to decide whether to refer any allegations of crime to the Justice Department. As federal prosecutors conduct their own investigations into Jan. 6 and Trump’s efforts to reverse the election, the Congressional Committee has a separate, vast body of evidence.
Lawmakers on the panel have hinted several times over the past year that they will issue criminal referrals. During Thursday’s hearing, Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney, the committee’s Republican vice chair, said the panel “may ultimately decide” to do so. She said they have “enough information to consider criminal referrals for multiple individuals.”
While such a referral wouldn’t force action, it would increase political pressure on Attorney General Merrick Garland as the department conducts its own investigations.
The commission recently received more than 1.5 million pages of Secret Service documents. But lawmakers say they still don’t have everything they want.
The panel is working to verify the accounts of White House employees who described Trump’s actions on Jan. 6 as he attempted to enter the Capitol and accompany his supporters, hundreds of whom ended up breaking in. Security officials, along with many White House aides and GOP members of Congress, vehemently opposed the idea. Trump was furious and tried, ultimately unsuccessfully, to get to the Capitol anyway, according to several accounts broadcast by the committee.
California Representative Pete Aguilar, a Democratic panel member, said lawmakers will “recall witnesses and make further investigative statements” based on Secret Service material. The agency has not transferred any text messages it says have been deleted.
The panel’s expected final action will be a massive report of evidence, findings and legislative recommendations to ensure nothing like January 6 ever happens again. But it’s unclear how much of his research material will be released to the public.
In one of eight hearings last summer, Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, another Democratic member, said: “We’ve only shown a small portion of what we found.”
Lawmakers have made it clear that the report will outline what they see as the stakes for the country as many Republicans still mistakenly believe the 2020 election has been stolen and as Trump considers another run in 2024.
“With any attempt to excuse or justify the former president’s behavior, we are tearing down the foundations of our republic,” Cheney said at the hearing.
Associated Press writers Jill Colvin and Eric Tucker contributed to this report.
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