Trump ordered to testify in the inquest into the attack on the Capitol

Trump ordered to testify in the inquest into the attack on the Capitol


Lawmakers investigating the 2021 attack on the US Capitol subpoenaed former President Donald Trump on Friday to testify in a major escalation of their wide-ranging investigation into his involvement in the violence.

The subpoena came after the House panel of seven Democrats and two Republicans voted unanimously last week to force Trump’s appearance before investigators.

It requires the 76-year-old Republican to produce documents by Nov. 4 and appear for testimony beginning on or about Nov. 14 — the Monday after the crucial Nov. 8 mid-term elections.

“As demonstrated in our hearings, we have amassed 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,” it shared Committee Trump in a letter.

Trump, who urged his supporters to “fight like hell” in a fiery speech near the White House on Jan. 6, 2021, was charged with inciting the mob to storm Congress later that day, to stop the peaceful transfer of power to Joe Biden.

The letter accused Trump of attempting to overturn the election despite knowing allegations of fraud had been overwhelmingly dismissed by more than 60 courts and refuted by his campaign staff and senior advisers.

“In short, you were at the center of a US President’s first and only attempt to overturn an election and impede the peaceful transfer of power, which ultimately culminated in a bloody attack on our own Capitol and on Congress itself,” he added .

The White House declined to comment on the subpoena but made the broad statement that “getting to the bottom of January 6 is important.”

– Aggressive escalation –

Subpoenas from the panel have proven difficult to enforce, with former White House Counsel Steve Bannon being the only target convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to comply.

Bannon was sentenced to four months in prison on Friday, though he is out on bail pending appeal.

Trump is notorious for his ability to turn down the clock on congressional investigations and legal action, and it remains highly unlikely that he would agree to any statement.

In any case, the subpoena expires with the new congressional elections in January. Republicans are expected to win back the House of Representatives in November’s election and plan to drop the investigation immediately.

But the move marks an aggressive escalation of the investigation, which has issued more than 100 subpoenas and interviewed more than 1,000 people since it began in 2021.

While no sitting president has ever been compelled to testify before Congress, lawmakers have subpoenaed several former presidents to discuss their conduct in office.

There was no immediate response from Trump, who would have to testify under oath and could be charged with perjury if he lied.

If he refuses to comply, the entire House can treat him with criminal contempt, as was the case with Bannon, in a vote recommending him for prosecution.

– ‘Clear and present danger –

The panel uncovered ample evidence of the former president’s involvement in a labyrinthine series of interconnected plots to overthrow the 2020 election at eight hearings over the summer.

Testimonies provided striking examples of how Trump and his allies pressured election officials and attempted to have legitimately cast votes in swing states annulled, and of Trump’s indolence amid the mafia insurgency.

The committee also expressed its position that Trump – who continues to be a source of disinformation about the 2020 presidential election – remains a “clear and present” threat to democracy.

The legislature plans to present a final report by the end of the year.

The committee has not announced whether there will be direct criminal leads over the attack on the Capitol, although this would be little more than a gesture as the Justice Department is already investigating.

The list of records Trump must provide includes all of his communications on the day of the riot, as well as various categories of communications in the weeks leading up to the riot.

Investigators specifically mention Signal, suggesting the committee determined Trump used the encrypted communications app while taking part in the conspiracy.

The software allows users to automatically delete messages within any selected time period.

The requested documents include all signal communications between Trump and far-right militias such as the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys.

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