‘Significant and historic action’: Jan. 6 panel subpoenas Trump records, testimony

WASHINGTON — The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol on Friday issued a subpoena to former President Donald Trump for documents and testimony related to the day’s violence.

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According to The Associated Press, lawmakers referred to Trump in the filing as the “central cause” of a coordinated plot to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

It was not immediately clear whether Trump would comply with the subpoena by the Nov. 14 deadline.

In a letter sent last week to the committee, the former president questioned why officials weren’t investigating alleged election fraud but made no mention of whether he planned to testify.

The nine-member panel issued a letter to Trump’s lawyers, demanding his testimony under oath by Nov. 14 and outlining a request for a series of corresponding documents, including personal communications between the former president and members of Congress as well as extremist groups, the AP reported.

“We recognize that a subpoena to a former President is a significant and historic action,” Chairman Bennie Thompson and Vice Chair Liz Cheney wrote in the letter to Trump. “We do not take this action lightly.”

The panel voted unanimously last week to seek documents and testimony from Trump. Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., acknowledged at a public hearing on Thursday that subpoenaing a former president “is a serious and extraordinary action.” However, he added that Trump “is the one person at the center of the story of what happened on Jan. 6.”

“The committee needs to do everything in our power to tell the most complete story possible and provide recommendations to help ensure nothing like Jan. 6 ever happens again,” he said.

Trump has hired The Dhillon Law Group to represent him in negotiations with the committee, Politico reported on Thursday. The firm also represents several other witnesses who have appeared before the committee, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn, according to the news site.

If Trump declines to produce documents or testify before the Jan. 6 committee, he could face criminal prosecution for contempt of Congress or be subject to a civil lawsuit from lawmakers. It was not immediately clear whether officials were weighing either option.

A jury convicted Steve Bannon, a former adviser to Trump, on two counts of contempt of Congress in July after he declined to respond to a subpoena from the Jan. 6 committee. He is set to be sentenced Friday.

Another former adviser to Trump, Peter Navarro, is set to face a jury next month on two counts of contempt of Congress after he also refused to appear or produce documents for the Jan. 6 committee. The committee subpoenaed Navarro in February.