Jan. 6 panel formally issues subpoena to Trump


The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol released its full subpoena to former President Trump, detailing 19 areas of inquiry it wishes to discuss with the former president and asking him to appear for a deposition on Nov. 14.

“As demonstrated in our hearings, we have assembled overwhelming evidence, including from dozens of your former appointees and staff, that you personally orchestrated and oversaw a multi-part effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election and to obstruct the peaceful transition of power,” Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) wrote in the letter accompanying the subpoena.

“The deposition will be under oath,” the letter adds, noting the session could extend beyond one day and will be led by a staff that includes “multiple former federal prosecutors – as well as members.”

In taking the remarkable step of issuing a subpoena to a former president, the committee departed from past practice and offered additional transparency by releasing the full, unredacted subpoena — including all documents it is seeking.

The move comes after the committee took a public vote at its hearing last week to approve serving the subpoena.

In some ways, the 19-point schedule reads as a recap of many topics already touched on by the panel.

It makes a sweeping request for any documents or communications related to efforts to evaluate former Vice President Mike Pence’s role in certifying the 2020 election or “any actions he might take” on Jan. 6. It also asks for anything detailing his discussions, including handwritten notes, about other plots, including efforts to reach out to state lawmakers, election officials and leaders at the Justice Department.

But it also highlights areas where the committee may still have significant gaps, including whether Trump had any contact with far-right groups like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, whose leaders are now facing trial on seditious conspiracy charges.

It also asks about any witness intimidation efforts involved with the committee’s investigation, such as efforts to contact those who appeared or were expected to appear before panel staff.

The schedule also asks Trump to turn over any communications with “Rep. Scott Perry (R-Penn.) and any other member of Congress,” as well as another catchall with a who’s who of Trump associates as varied as Roger Stone, Steve Bannon, various members of his outside legal team and former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne.  

It notes that many it has already spoken with, including Stone and one-time National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, pleaded the fifth multiple times on questions “related directly to your conduct.”

Finally, the letter asks to discuss Trump’s multiple unsuccessful court cases — 62 in all — pointing to a recently obtained email indicating the former president knowingly submitted false information to the court. 

Trump is asked to produce the documents at a quick clip – facing a deadline on Nov. 4, just days before the midterm elections.

“Donald Trump, you’ve been served,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), one of the panel’s two GOP members, tweeted shortly after the subpoena was released.

Since the committee voted to subpoena Trump, he’s complained the panel waited “until the very end” to try to speak with him.

But the move follows a common investigative practice of assembling as much evidence as possible before seeking to speak with “big fish.”

The panel’s letter to Trump walks through much of the evidence they’ve already collected about what they referred to as Trump’s “central role in each element” of the plan to remain in power.

“In short, you were at the center of the first and only effort by a U.S. president to overturn and obstruct the peaceful transfer of power, ultimately culminating in a bloody attack on our own Capitol and on the Congress itself,” they wrote.

“The evidence demonstrates that you knew this activity was illegal and unconstitutional and also knew that your own assertions of fraud were false.”

The panel also notes it is working to craft recommendations to ensure that “no future president could succeed at anything even remotely similar to the unlawful actions that you took to overturn the election.” 

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