The House Committee investigating the Capitol attack voted Thursday to subpoena Donald Trump in an extraordinary move seeking a direct confrontation with the former president accused of instigating the deadly Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection and leading attempts to subvert the 2020 election.
“The vast weight of the evidence so far has shown us that the central cause of Jan. 6 was one man, Donald Trump, who many others followed,” Vice Chairperson Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, said.. “None of this would have happened without him. He was personally and substantially involved in all of it.
“We must seek the testimony under oath of Jan. 6’s central player,” Cheney said, adding that the committee had “sufficient” information to issue criminal referrals related to multiple figures in the panel’s investigation. “We are obligated to seek answers from the man who set this all in motion.”
The vote came during the committee’s ninth, and possibly final public hearing, in which lawmakers offered closing arguments, interspersed with witness testimony, highlighting Trump’s chaotic efforts to cling to power knowing that the election was lost.
Few expect Trump to submit to the committee’s summons, a demand that will likely prompt a new round of legal challenges involving the former president. If Republicans win control of the House in the November elections, the new GOP majority would likely terminate the committee at the start of next year.
“I assume that Trump would take the Fifth if his hand was forced,” said former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti. “But he will likely try to delay his testimony with frivolous legal proceedings challenging Congressional authority to compel his testimony.”
National security lawyer Bradley P. Moss tweeted: “There are zero circumstances in which Trump would ever voluntarily submit to a subpoena from the 1/6 Committee. None. He’d litigate it to SCOTUS, and absent Dems somehow holding the House next month this will all be over with come next January.”
During Thursday’s hearing, lawmakers repeatedly highlighted evidence of Trump’s repeated attempts to reject President Joe Biden’s victory.
Days before the 2020 election, according to the committee, a draft statement declaring a Trump victory was prepared for delivery regardless of the outcome.
“We had an election today – and I won,” according to the draft sent Oct. 31, 2020. “. “The ballots counted by the Election Day deadline show the American people have bestowed up on me the great honor of reelection to President of the United States.”
Despite numerous attempted interventions by top aides, including then-Attorney General William Barr, Trump’s efforts to remain in office only appeared to become more desperate, the committee concluded.
When the Supreme Court rejected his election challenge a month after the vote, documents and witness testimony gathered by the committee offered a troubling account of an increasingly unyielding Trump.
“Just FYI potus is pissed – breaking news – supreme court denied his law suit,” an email from a Secret Service agent on Dec. 11, 2020 said. “He is livid now.”
The committee’s Thursday hearing also featured testimony from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson who recounted how she and then-Chief of Staff Mark Meadows crossed paths with a “raging” Trump that day as he walked out of the Oval Office, telling Meadows: “I don’t want people to know we lost, Mark. This is embarrassing. We need to figure it out. I don’t want people to know that we lost.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: House Jan. 6 committee subpoenas former President Donald Trump