The Jan. 6 committee announces it has sent a subpoena to former President Donald Trump
The House inquiry into the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol announced Friday that the panel had done so officially sent a summons to former President Donald Trump as it portrays him as a central figure in the multi-pronged plan to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
The committee issued the subpoena to compel Trump to attend testimony and produce documents. The panel orders Trump to turn over documents by November 4 and appear either in person or virtually for “one or more days of testimony beginning on or about November 14.”
While it’s not clear if Trump will comply with the subpoena, the action serves as a way for the committee to send a signal and make it clear that it wants information directly from Trump while the panel investigates the attack. Trump could also challenge the subpoena in court, potentially fomenting an extremely significant battle that could reach the highest level of the country’s judiciary, but it’s also possible that such a legal challenge would outlast the committee’s mandate.
Before the subpoena was released, the committee’s vice chair, Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, said at an event at Harvard earlier this week that she expects Trump to honor his legal obligation and comply with the subpoena, “but if that doesn’t happen, then afterwards we will take the necessary steps, but I don’t want to go too far down that road at this point.”
Unlike previous subpoena announcements, on Friday the committee released the entire subpoena it sent to Trump along with the requested documents.
“As demonstrated in our hearings, we have assembled overwhelming evidence, including from dozens of your former appointees and associates, that you personally orchestrated and oversaw a multi-pronged effort to overthrow the 2020 presidential election and impede the peaceful transition of power,” Cheney and Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the committee chair, write in the subpoena.
The panel summarizes what it presented at its hearings to show why it believes Trump “personally orchestrated and oversaw” efforts to overthrow the election.
It said Trump “deliberately and maliciously” circulated false claims that the 2020 election was stolen in order to support his plan to overturn the election and solicit donations. The committee paints Trump as the “orchestrator and overseer” of efforts to win bogus state voters. Regarding the pressure campaigns conducted by Trump, the panel highlight states that Trump attempted to “corrupt the Justice Department” by tricking officials into making “false statements,” illegally pressuring state officials to change the election results , and pressured former Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to count electoral votes on Jan. 6 “even though they knew full well it was illegal” and pressured members of Congress to stand up to valid voters.
Trump and his legal team have been discussing how to respond to the subpoena, a source familiar with the situation told CNN, stressing that no firm decisions have been made. Trump has hired attorneys Harmeet Dhillon and Jim Trusty to take the lead in answering the subpoena.
Trump is responding to the committee’s unanimous vote to subpoena him
The former president released a lengthy response criticizing the Social Truth Committee by member voted unanimously to summon him but did not say if he would stick to it. Trump also recently shared a Fox story on Truth Social that claimed he “loves the idea of testifying.” But Trump could also challenge the subpoena in court, and such a legal challenge would likely outlast the committee’s mandate.
In its subpoena, the committee specifically requests Trump to release all communications sent or received between November 3, 2020 and January 20, 2021 to more than a dozen of his close allies, who have emerged as key players more broadly plan to overturn the 2020 election:
- Michael FlynnTrump’s former national security adviser
- Roger Stonea longtime Republican agent pardoned by Trump
- Stephen Bannonformer Trump adviser convicted of contempt of Congress
- Rudy GiulianiTrump’s former attorney
- Jeffrey Clarka former Justice Department official
- John Ostmana conservative lawyer who worked with Trump to overturn the 2020 election
- Christina Boba former One America News Network anchor and current Trump attorney
- Jenna Ellisa former member of Trump’s legal team
- Sydney Powella former member of Trump’s legal team
- Kenneth Chesbroan attorney behind legal theories on canceling the 2020 election
- Boris Epshteyna Trump adviser
- Cleta Mitchellan attorney who worked with the Trump campaign after the 2020 election
- Patrick Byrna former Overstock CEO and voter refuser
The panel’s request for communications includes Trump’s signal communications. The committee also notes that it would like Trump to testify about his interactions with several people, including people on the same list, who invoked their Fifth Amendment rights when questioned by the committee about their dealings with the former president .
“This subpoena requests testimony regarding your dealings with several individuals who have now themselves invoked their Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination regarding their communications with you, including Roger Stone, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, U.S. Army (retired), John Eastman , Jeffrey Clark and Kelli Ward,” the committee wrote in a letter to Trump.
The recent House Committee public hearing, in which members voted to subpoena him, served as the final argument for the American public ahead of the midterm election that Trump is at the center of the multi-faceted plot to overthrow the 2020 presidential election.
“It is our duty to obtain testimony from Donald Trump,” Thompson said before voting on the subpoena during the hearing.
Cheney said during the hearing that seeking Trump’s testimony under oath remains “a key task” because several witnesses closest to the former president invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in response to their interactions with Trump.
“We have an obligation to seek answers directly from the man who started all of this,” Cheney said, referring to Trump.
This story has been updated with additional developments.