The House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol building has voted to subpoena Donald Trump — and the former president has indicated to his inner circle that he may comply with the request.
The January 6 committee concluded what will likely be its final public hearing on Thursday with a vote on issuing Trump a subpoena, which legally compels him to provide documents relating to the Capitol attack and appear for a deposition.
“We are obligated to seek answers from the man who set this all in motion,” Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming), vice chair of the committee, said in a statement announcing the vote. “Every American is entitled to those answers so we can act now to protect our republic.”
Trump “is the one person at the center of the story of what happened on January 6,” committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi) said, adding that he “must be accountable.”
Many believe that it’s highly unlikely Trump will agree to appear before the committee, as he has repeatedly criticized their work and defended his loyalists who stormed the Capitol. It’s possible that the former president is hoping to run out the clock on the issue until this year’s midterms; if Republicans win control of the House, it’s likely his allies will assume power and dissolve the committee.
If Trump refuses to comply with the subpoena order, the committee could vote to recommend holding him in contempt of Congress. If the full House votes affirmatively on the matter, the DOJ could opt to charge Trump, adding to the already-full slate of criminal and civil cases he is facing.
Trump continued to denounce the January 6 committee on his fledgling social media platform Truth Social, though he didn’t indicate whether or not he would appear before them.
“Why didn’t the Unselect Committee ask me to testify months ago?” Trump asked. “Why did they wait until the very end, the final moments of their last meeting? Because the Committee is a total “BUST” that has only served to further divide our Country.”
The committee has spoken with hundreds of witnesses, including key members of the Trump administration who have testified about his actions in the run-up to and on the day of January 6. Investigators have ultimately concluded that the Capitol attack was instigated by Trump stoking lies about the outcome of the 2020 presidential election and pushing an illegal plot to remain in office.
Despite Trump’s hostility toward the committee, people close to him are saying he wants to testify before them— but only if he can do so on live television, The New York Times’s Maggie Haberman reported.
“The former president has been telling aides he favors doing so, so long as he gets to do so live, according to a person familiar with his discussions,” Haberman wrote on Thursday. “However, it is unclear whether the committee would accept such a demand.”
According to reporting from The Daily Beast, Trump’s advisers have warned him that testifying before the committee would be unwise, as its members have amassed mountains of evidence against him. Of course, Trump frequently goes against the advice of his own advisers — a point that the January 6 committee has also showcased.