WASHINGTON — The House inquiry into the 6-1 attack on the Capitol on Thursday voted unanimously to subpoena former President Donald Trump.
Members of the panel, which is expected to hold its final hearing before Thursday’s midterm elections, had previously said they were still considering seeking an interview with Trump or former Vice President Mike Pence. Sources familiar with the committee’s plans told NBC News of the subpoena Thursday.
Panel chair Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss, said the committee has an “obligation” to hear from Trump.
“This is a question of accountability to the American people. He must be held accountable. He must be accountable for his actions. He must answer to those police officers who risk their lives and bodies to defend our democracy. He is needed to respond to the millions of Americans whose votes he wanted to throw away as part of his plan to stay in power,” Thompson said, hailing the move as “a serious and extraordinary action.”
The resolution to subpoena Trump passed 9-0 with the support of all members.
The resolution was led by the panel’s vice chair, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., who Trump called the “key player” in the riots.
A source familiar with the committee’s plans told NBC News that the panel plans to issue the subpoena in the coming days.
The panel has a tight timeline — the subpoena expires at the end of this congressional session, and Trump is likely to contest it. Asked after the hearing if the committee was willing to argue a subpoena in court, Thompson said, “Let’s see what happens,” Trump added, “We hope he complies.”
The former president mocked the committee on his social media site, Truth Social, but didn’t say how he would respond to the subpoena.
“Why didn’t the Unselect Committee ask me to testify months ago? Why did they wait until the end, until the last moment of their last meeting? Because the committee is a total ‘BUST’ that has only served to further divide our country,” the Post said.
in one series of tweets After the subpoena vote, Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich also did not say how Trump would respond to the subpoena, but predicted that “Trump-backed candidates will sweep the midterms” over the next month “and America First’s leadership and solutions will be restored.” .
The subpoena comes more than a year after the committee began investigating the riot, and despite previous acknowledgments by several members of Congress that Trump is unlikely to comply.
Nonetheless, the former President’s subpoena had been under consideration for some time and had been an active topic of discussion among committee members.
In its wide-ranging investigation, the panel has already conducted more than 1,000 interviews and statements. It has also received hundreds of thousands of documents, and about 100 summonses are known to have been issued.
Thursday’s hearing put Trump back at the center of plans to overturn the election — which ultimately led to the 6/11 bloodshed, Cheney said in her opening statement.
“None of this would have happened without him. He was personally and instrumentally involved in all of this,” she said. “Today we will focus on President Trump’s state of mind, his intentions, his motivations and how he has spurred others to do his bidding. And how another January 6th could happen again if we don’t take the necessary measures to prevent it.”
Cheney also said that the committee “may ultimately decide to direct a series of criminal complaints to the Justice Department,” although she said lawmakers “recognize that our role is not to make prosecution decisions.”
Trump would not be the first former president to be subpoenaed by Congress. Several current and past presidents and vice presidents have also been tested before congressional committees, including Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson and Gerald R. Ford.
It’s unclear if the committee will attempt to interview Pence, who led Trump’s 6/11 efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election and who faced threats of hanging that day.
In August, during an event in New Hampshire, Pence said he was considering testifying before House Jan. 6 committee if he was invited to appear, but he suggested he needed to work out some constitutional issues before committing.
“If we were ever given a formal invitation, we would give it due consideration,” he said.
Thompson said after the hearing there were no plans to subpoena Pence and suggested the panel might not formally request that he be interviewed. “We have gathered enough evidence that former Vice President Pence did his job,” Thompson said.
Thompson had previously suggested Thursday would be the committee’s final hearing, but several of its members have recently said that may not be the case.
When asked on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” if there would be more hearings, Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., said the investigation “has a life of its own, and we keep finding new information.”
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