As part of its investigation of the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, the House select committee decided Thursday to subpoena former president Donald Trump for testimony and records.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the Committee, stated in his concluding comments about Mr. Trump, “We want to hear from him.” We must request Donald Trump’s testimony. A subpoena issued to a former president is a severe and unusual act.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming), the panel’s vice chairperson, stated we must seek the sworn testimony of January 6’s major actor. Mr. Trump’s mental health was at the center of the hearing, which aimed to position him at the center of a campaign to reverse the election results. The panel also addressed ongoing dangers to democracy that endure to this day as Mr. Trump and other Republicans continue to assert that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.
The ninth public hearing of the year comprised video recordings of witness testimonies, some of which had never been shown publicly. Thursday saw the participation of all nine committee members, including seven Democrats and two Republicans.
The hearing, which did not feature witnesses, was set for last month but was postponed due to Hurricane Ian. It was likely the panel’s last hearing before the November elections. The Committee might hold another hearing before the end of the year when it produces a final report on its findings, including legislative action recommendations and possibly criminal referrals to guarantee that a similar assault on Congress never occurs again.
Through some new videos and papers displayed on Thursday, the panel offered a comprehensive overview of its investigation’s conclusions, including more than a thousand interviews, depositions, and hundreds of thousands of documents. It has received almost 10,000 tips through its tip line. It was intended to imply that Mr. Trump was aware that Joe Biden had defeated him but continued to insist publicly that the election had been stolen, inciting the violence on January 6.
Mr. Thompson stated in his opening remarks, “Donald Trump knew he lost” What Donald Trump did following the 2020 election is unprecedented in American presidential history. Thompson added. The Committee explored Mr. Trump’s and his associates’ efforts to exert pressure on state and municipal authorities to thwart President Biden’s victory and to recruit electors in swing states. New evidence, including Secret Service papers, demonstrated that he was aware that the Ellipse crowd was armed, yet he nevertheless urged them to march to the Capitol. Witnesses said that he did nothing to halt the violence for hours and, in fact, stoked his followers’ hatred towards Mike Pence.
According to texts released by the Committee, there is evidence that crowd members on the Ellipse in front of the White House are armed and dangerous. A Secret Service communication dated the morning of January 6, 2021, stated that some members of the crowd were sporting ballistic helmets, body armor, radio equipment, and military-grade bags.
Messages revealed that the Secret Service was aware of violent threats against Vice President Pence. After Mr. Trump tweeted at 2:24 p.m., while the riot was in progress, that Mr. Pence lacked the bravery to do what should have been done, a Secret Service chat message stated, “POTUS just tweeted about Pence, probably not going to be good for Pence.”
Mr. Trump has stated that he has committed no wrongdoing and has called the special Committee a politicized witch hunt. In early 2021, he was impeached by the House for encouraging an uprising and acquitted by the Senate.
Why didn’t the “Unselected Committee” request my testimony some months ago? Mr. Trump inquired on his social media network, TruthSocial. Why did they wait until the last minutes of their last encounter? Because the Committee is a complete “BUST” that has only helped to further divide our country, which is, by the way, doing extremely poorly – “A laughing stock all over the World?”
According to legal experts, the subpoena issued by the Committee does not indicate that Mr. Trump is likely to come before Congress. Former federal prosecutor Randall Eliason said the likelihood of him testifying is very nil.” Even if Mr. Trump does appear, he is expected to invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to answer questions, according to Mr. Eliason. Mr. Eliason stated that if Republicans regain control of the House following the midterm elections in November, they might rescind the subpoena when they reclaim leadership of the chamber in January.
The Committee has summoned other members of Mr. Trump’s inner circle to testify and referred four individuals to the Department of Justice for failing to cooperate. Former Trump advisor Peter Navarro and strategist Steve Bannon were both indicted for contempt of Congress, but the government opted to pursue just two of them. Mr. Navarro has entered a not-guilty plea. Mr. Bannon was found guilty and will be sentenced on October 21.
During Thursday’s meeting, the Committee screened never-before-seen footage of MPs’ reactions to the January 6 attack. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) said, “Do you believe this?” after being informed that House members were donning gas masks.
Mrs. Pelosi said in a phone chat with the Republican governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, that the situation at the Capitol was “horrendous.” She was attempting to get extra police to the Capitol. “And all at the instigation of the president of the United States.”
The Committee testified on Mr. Trump’s intentions to declare victory before all votes had been tabulated, showing a deliberate plot to contest the results. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-California), a member of the Committee, stated that Mr. Trump’s aides informed him that there was insufficient information on election night to determine the winner. Mr. Trump announced that evening he had won the election.
Bill Stepien, Mr. Trump’s campaign staffer, said ballots were still being tallied when he stated that such a conclusion was premature. In its July hearing, the Committee heard testimony that Mr. Trump spent the afternoon of the riot watching television coverage of the incident at the White House. Despite the pleas of his aides and family members, he refused to take action to stop the violence for long hours, according to witnesses.
Ms. Lofgren detailed the ties between Mr. Trump’s associates, including his longstanding advisor Roger Stone, and the far-right groups responsible for the January 6 assault on the Capitol. Before the election, the Committee presented a videotape of Mr. Stone stating that if the election results are ambiguous, the most important thing to do is proclaim victory. The law is nine-tenths a matter of possession. “We won. F— you,” Mr. Stone said.
Ms. Lofgren stated, in addition to his ties to President Trump, Roger Stone maintained substantial direct ties to the two organizations responsible for the violent attack on the Capitol: the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys.
This year, prosecutors have accused over a dozen Oath Keepers and Proud Boys members of conspiring against the United States. An investigation by the Justice Department into the events leading up to January 6, 2021, has intensified in recent months, with hundreds of subpoenas issued to individuals associated with the former president’s efforts to continue in office.
Many of the most recent subpoenas sought evidence of attempts by Trump allies to send pro-Trump elector slates from multiple battleground states to Congress to thwart Mr. Biden’s victory.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has described the probe as the most significant investigation the Justice Department has ever conducted. Still, he has declined to comment on the possibility of Mr. Trump being indicted.
Meanwhile, the Justice Department investigates how Mr. Trump handled classified and other sensitive government materials after leaving the White House. Mr. Trump has referred to the Justice Department’s probe into his handling of secret documents as the “Raid of Mar-a-Lago Document Hoax.”