The House Select Committee on Jan. 6 voted Thursday to issue a subpoena demanding testimony from the man whose actions have been at the center of the nine-member panel’s investigation over the past year: former President Donald Trump.
Committee members unanimously approved a motion to subpoena the twice-impeached ex-president at the end of the panel’s ninth investigative hearing, likely the last public session before the midterm elections in November.
The select committee chairman, Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, called Mr. Trump “the one person at the center of the story of what happened on Jan. 6” and said the panel needed to hear from him in a way that goes “beyond” that fact. -find it has engaged in the past year.
“This is a matter of accountability to the American people. He needs to be held accountable. He is held accountable for his actions. He is held accountable for the police officers who put their lives and bodies on the line to defend our democracy. He is committed to being accountable to the millions of Americans whose votes he wanted to throw out as part of his plan to stay in power and whatever is going on to ensure this accountability under the law,” he said.
“This committee will demand a full accounting for every American person of the event on January 6. So it is our obligation to seek Donald Trump’s testimony.”
Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney, the panel’s vice chair and one of two Republicans on the select committee, presented a series of videos showing Mr. Trump’s staff invoking their right against self-incrimination instead of answering questions about conversations with the ex-president.
She also said the panel may come up with criminal referrals, but she stressed there was still a singular task – getting answers from Mr Trump.
“At some point, the Justice Department may well uncover the facts that these and other witnesses are currently hiding,” she said, adding that the panel’s “duty today” was “to our country and our children and our Constitution.”
“We are obliged to seek answers directly from the man who started it all. And all Americans are entitled to those answers,” she said.
She said other witnesses have “gone to enormous lengths to avoid testifying about their dealings with” the former president, noting that one, Mr Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon, has been convicted of criminal contempt of Congress as a result of refusing to witness.
New Jan. 6 footage shows Speaker Pelosi’s response as the Capitol riot unfolded
Trump will likely fight to appear before the committee, where he would be forced to testify under oath and face perjury charges if he lies. But if he does testify, he will be the first former president to testify before a congressional committee since March 1983, when former President Gerald Ford appeared at a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on the bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution.
The vote to compel testimony from the former president came after a two-and-a-half-hour session in which committee members presented evidence showing that Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election and stay in office were executed against the wishes of American voters. as a “coordinated multi-pronged plan to ensure he remained in power” despite being well aware that he had lost the election.
Thursday afternoon’s hearing included no live witnesses, but the panel’s presentation included new documentary and witness testimony, as well as a summary of the myriad bombshells provided by witnesses who testified during the eight other sessions held in June and July.
Video evidence showed Trump allies celebrating violence
Early in the hearing, the committee played a video of longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone calling for violence and saying Mr. Trump should simply declare victory before the 2020 presidential election was called.
“Possession is nine-tenths of the law,” he said in a video presented by the committee. “We won. Fuck you.”
The video also showed Mr. Stone told supporters to “f**k the vote” before adding “let’s go straight to the violence”.
Several previously unseen videos showed members of the House and Senate leadership scrambling to get help from Defense Department officials as their workplaces were ransacked by a rowdy crowd of Mr Trump’s supporters.
The January 6th panel shows Roger Stone calling for violence prior to the Capitol attack
In one clip, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was shown on a phone call with then-Virginia Governor Ralph Northam to secure the help of hundreds of police and National Guard troops to support Capitol Police and Washington DC police officers who had been fighting a medieval -style hand-to-hand combat against the hordes of armed Trumpists.
Another showed Senator Chuck Schumer, then the upper house minority leader, in conversation with then-Attorney General William Barr.
Sir. Schumer angrily demanded that Mr. Barr told Mr. Trump to order his supporters to stand out.
“Yes, why don’t you get the president to tell them to leave the Capitol, Mr. Attorney General with your law enforcement responsibilities,” he said, his voice dripping with scorn.
Secret Service emails show warnings of violence
Other new evidence made clear just how much caution federal officials had about the tinderbox Mr. Trump would ignite on the day Congress was to make his loss official.
Representative Adam Schiff, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee in addition to his role on the select committee, presented emails received from the US Secret Service showing the agency charged with protecting Mr Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, as well as the then newly elected president. Joe Biden and then-Vice President Kamala Harris knew that Trump’s supporters were planning violence on the day Congress was supposed to confirm Trump’s defeat.
Schiff said the Secret Service had notice of the strong possibility of violence at least 10 days before the Capitol riot, from a Dec. 26, 2020, tip received from the FBI informing the agency that members of the Proud Boys, a violent pro-Trump -band, “plan[ned] to march armed into DC”. One of the FBI sources said the group believed they would be in large enough numbers that they would “outnumber the police,” who would be powerless to stop them.
Representative Pete Aguilar of California also presented internal Secret Service emails which showed awareness that rally-goers attending Mr Trump’s speech at the Ellipse were armed with rifles and pistols and intended to march on the Capitol.
“What is clear from this record is that the White House had more than enough warning to warrant stopping any plan for an elliptical rally, and certainly to stop any march to the Capitol,” he said. “It was known to the intelligence community that members of the crowd were armed, President Trump had been told, and there was no doubt that President Trump knew what he was going to do: send in an angry mob, a number of whom were dressed in tactical equipment and military uniform, armed with various weapons for the Capitol.”
Aguilar said there was “no scenario” in which Trump’s actions that day would have been “benign,” nor was there any scenario in which a U.S. president would have been justified in engaging in similar behavior.
Trump’s actions showed that he knew he had lost the election
The committee also presented further evidence that Mr Trump was aware that his loss to Mr Biden had been legitimate and was unlikely to be overturned.
Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, the committee’s other Republican who is retiring at the end of the year, revealed that Trump sought to withdraw all US troops from Somalia by December 31, 2020, and troops from Afghanistan by January 15, 2021 , a clear indication that Mr Trump knew he would leave office five days later.
In a committee interview, retired Gen. Keith Kellogg — who served as national security adviser to the vice president — said the results would be “catastrophic.”
“Remember the order was an immediate withdrawal,” said Mr. Kinzinger. “It would have been catastrophic, and yet President Trump signed the order.”
For her part, Democratic Representative Elaine Luria of Virginia spoke of how Mr. Trump continued to spread misinformation, saying the committee’s report will document “Purposeful lies published in direct contradiction to what Donald Trump knew from unimpeachable sources, the Justice Department’s own investigations and his own campaign.”
“Donald Trump maliciously repeated this nonsense to a wide audience over and over again,” she said. “His intent was to deceive.”
Ms. Luria, who is running for re-election in Virginia’s competitive 2nd District, also highlighted how he tried to force state officials to change the election results.
“These actions, taken directly by the president himself, made it clear what his intentions were to prevent the orderly transfer of power,” she said, pointing specifically to his attempts to pressure Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
The final hearing comes less than a month after the midterm elections in November. Representative Jamie Raskin said he didn’t care how the committee’s findings would play with voters.
“We have a mandate to make a report to Congress and to the entire American people about what happened on January 6 and what were the reasons behind it and what are our recommendations going forward,” he said.