Thursday, May 30, 2024

Trump subpoenaed by Jan. 6 committee for deposition in mid-November

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Former President Donald Trump was subpoenaed Friday for documents and his testimony by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 assault on the Capitol.

Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi, and Vice Chair Rep. Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming, issued the subpoena to Trump in a letter eight days after the panel’s unanimous vote to do so, at the end of what was likely the committee’s final hearing. 

The committee demands that the former president submit documentary material by Nov. 4, which would be followed by “one or more days” of his deposition under oath “on or about” Nov. 14, according to the panel’s letter.

Thompson and Cheney wrote to Trump that “we have assembled overwhelming evidence, including from dozens of your former appointees and staff, that you personally orchestrated and oversaw a multi-part effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election and to obstruct the peaceful transition of power.”

To that end, they accuse him of a long list of actions, including disseminating false 2020 presidential election fraud allegations to help overturn the election and solicit donations, trying to corrupt the Justice Department, pressuring state officials and legislators to change election results in their states “without any evidentiary basis,” trying to obtain and submit false electoral certificates to Congress and the National Archives, pressuring the vice president “to unilaterally refuse to count electoral votes” during the Jan. 6, 2021 joint session of Congress, and more. 

The two went on to point out that he undertook those efforts “despite the rulings of more than 60 courts rejecting your election fraud claims and other challenges to the legality of the 2020 presidential election, despite having specific and detailed information from the Justice Department and your senior campaign staff informing you that your election claims were false, and despite your obligation as President to ensure that the laws of our nation are faithfully executed.”

An attorney for the president said the committee is “flouting norms.” 

“We are going to be handling this matter as counsel for President Donald J. Trump,” said David A. Warrington, a partner at Dhillon Law Group. “We understand that, once again, flouting norms and appropriate and customary process, the Committee has publicly released a copy of its subpoena. As with any similar matter, we will review and analyze it, and will respond as appropriate to this unprecedented action.” 

The committee seeks information about Trump’s dealings with several of his allies, former aides and lawyers, including Roger Stone, former national security adviser Michael Flynn, conservative lawyer John Eastman, former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, former CEO Patrick Byrne and lawyers Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis, Sidney Powell, Kenneth Chesebro, Boris Epshteyn, Christina Bobb and Cleta Mitchell.

Trump has not yet said whether he plans to comply with the subpoena. Should he choose to defy it, the committee would need to secure a majority vote by the full House of Representatives to send the Justice Department a referral for a misdemeanor charge of refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena. It would then be up to the Justice Department to decide whether to charge him. 

The committee hopes to find out even more about what Trump was doing before and during the attack. At the last hearing, the panel noted that multiple witnesses invoked the Fifth Amendment when they were asked by the committee about any relevant conversations with Trump during the post-election period.

The timeline for the select committee is short. It only has until the end of the year to wrap up its work, complicating efforts to subpoena Trump. A new Congress will be seated in January, and the CBS News Battleground Tracker poll suggests that control of the House could switch from Democratic to Republican.

Trump joins the ranks of other former U.S. presidents who have been subpoenaed after leaving office, including John Quincy Adams and Harry S. Truman. 

Rebecca Kaplan contributed to this report.

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