The Jan. 6 House Select Committee voted on Thursday to issue a subpoena demanding testimony from the man whose actions have been the focus 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 such public session before the November midterm elections.
The chairman of the select committee, representing 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 him in a way that goes “beyond of the investigation he has engaged in over the past year.
“It’s about accountability to the American people. They have to be held to account. They have to answer for their actions. They have to answer to those police officers who are risking their lives and their bodies to defend our democracy. He’s obligated to respond to those 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 secure that accountability under the law,” he said. .
“This committee will demand a full account from every American of the January 6 event. It is therefore our duty to demand the testimony of Donald Trump.”
Representative from Wyoming Liz Cheneyvice chairman of the panel and one of two Republicans on the select committee, presented a succession of videos showing associates of Mr. Trump invoking their right to self-incrimination rather than answering questions about conversations with the ex-president.
She also said the panel could make criminal referrals, but stressed that one singular task remained – to get answers from Mr Trump.
“At some point, the Department of Justice may well uncover the facts that these witnesses and others are currently hiding,” she said, adding that the panel’s “duty today” was “to our country , our children and our constitution”.
“We are compelled to seek answers directly from the man who set this all in motion. And every American is entitled to those answers,” she said.
She said other witnesses had “gone to extreme lengths to avoid testifying about their relationship with” the ex-president, and noted that one of them, Mr Trump’s ex-adviser , Steve Bannon, was found guilty of criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to testify.
New footage from January 6 shows President Pelosi’s response as the Capitol riot unfolds
Mr Trump is likely to fight to appear before the committee, where he would be required to testify under oath and risk being charged with perjury 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 constitution’s bicentennial. American.
The vote to compel the ex-president’s testimony came after a two-and-a-half-hour session, during which committee members presented evidence showing Mr Trump’s efforts to nullify the 2020 election and remain in office against the will of American voters was executed as a “coordinated multi-part plan to ensure he stays in power” despite being well aware that he had lost the election.
Thursday afternoon’s hearing featured no live witnesses, but the panel’s presentation included new documentary and testimonial evidence, as well as a recap of the myriad bombshells thrown by witnesses who testified over the eight other sessions held in June and July.
Video evidence showed Trump allies celebrating the violence
As the hearing began, the committee played a video of longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone calling for violence and saying that Mr. Trump should simply declare victory before the 2020 presidential election is called.
“Possession is nine-tenths of the law,” he said in a video shown by the committee. “We won. Fuck you.
The video also showed Mr Stone telling his supporters, ‘f**k the vote’, before adding ‘let’s get straight to the violence’.
Other never-before-seen videos showed members of the House and Senate leadership scrambling for help from Defense Department officials as their workplace was ransacked by a rioting mob of Mr Trump supporters.
January 6 committee shows Roger Stone calling for violence before Capitol attack
In a clip, House speaker Nancy Pelosi was shown making a phone call with then-Virginia Governor Ralph Northam to enlist the help of hundreds of National Guard police and troops to support Capitol Police and Washington police officers DC who had fought a medieval-style hand-to-hand battle against the hordes of armed Trumpists.
Another showed Sen. Chuck Schumer, then the Upper House Minority Leader, in conversation with then-Attorney General William Barr.
Mr. Schumer angrily demanded that Mr. Barr tell Mr. Trump to order his supporters to disperse.
“Yeah, why don’t you ask the president to tell them to get off the Capitol, Mr. Attorney General in your law enforcement responsibility,” he said, his voice dripping with contempt.
Secret Service emails warn of violence
Other new evidence showed how well-informed federal officials were of the powder keg Mr Trump would light the day Congress was due to formalize his loss.
Representative Adam Schiff, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee in addition to his role on the select committee, presented emails obtained from the US Secret Service showing the agency responsible for protecting Mr. Trump, Vice President Mike Penceas well as the president-elect at the time Joe Biden then vice-president-elect Kamala Harris knew that Mr. Trump’s supporters were anticipating violence the day Congress was to certify Mr. Trump’s defeat.
Mr. Schiff said the Secret Service was made aware of the strong possibility of violence at least 10 days before the Capitol riot, from a December 26, 2020 tip received from the FBI advising the agency that members of the Proud Boys, a violent pro-Trump gang, “plan[ned] marching armed towards DC”. One of the FBI sources said the group believed there would be enough of them to “outnumber the police” who would be powerless to stop them.
Rep. Pete Aguilar of California also presented internal Secret Service emails that showed rally attendees present for Mr. Trump’s speech at the Ellipse were armed with guns and pistols and intended to march on the Capitol.
“What is clear from this filing is that the White House had more than enough warning to warrant halting any plans for a timeskip rally, and certainly to halt any march to the Capitol,” a he declared. “The Secret Service knew the mob members 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, including a number were dressed in tactical gear and military attire, armed with various weapons at the Capitol.
Mr Aguilar said there was “no scenario” in which Mr Trump’s actions that day would have been “benign”, nor any scenario in which a US president would have been justified in engaging in a similar conduct.
Trump’s actions showed he knew he had lost the election
The committee also presented other evidence that Mr. Trump was aware his loss to Mr. Biden was legitimate and unlikely to be reversed.
Representing Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, the other Republican on the committee who is retiring at the end of the year, revealed that Mr. Trump had tried to withdraw all American troops from Somalia by December 31, 2020 and troops from Afghanistan before January 15, 2021, a clear indication that Mr. Trump knew he would leave office five days later.
In an interview with the committee, retired General Keith Kellogg – who served as the vice president’s national security adviser – said the results would be “catastrophic”.
“Keep in mind that the order was for immediate withdrawal,” Mr. Kinzinger said. “It would have been catastrophic, and yet President Trump signed the order.”
For her part, Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria of Virginia, explained how Mr. Trump continued to spread misinformation and said the committee’s report would document “deliberate lies made public directly at odds with what Donald Trump knew from sources.” unassailable, the Justice Department’s own investigations. and his own campaign.
“Donald Trump has maliciously repeated this nonsense to a wide audience over and over again,” she said. “His intention was to deceive.”
Ms. Luria, who is running for re-election in Virginia’s competitive 2nd District, also pointed out how he tried to coerce state officials to alter 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, specifically pointing to her attempt to pressure Georgian Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
The final hearing comes less than a month before November’s midterm elections. Rep. Jamie Raskin said he doesn’t care how the committee’s findings play out with voters.
“We have a mandate to report to Congress and to the entire American people on what happened on January 6th, and what were the causes, and then what are our recommendations for the future,” he said. he declared.