- Jan. 6 committee members unanimously voted to subpoena Donald Trump on Thursday.
- Members said interviewing Trump is the only way to fill in gaps from uncooperative Trump aides.
Subpoenaing Donald Trump to tell his side of the January 6 story is the only way congressional investigators can plug in the gaps left by the dozens of Trump allies who clammed up when asked about the deadly attack on the US Capitol, House Democrats said Thursday.
Following the unanimous vote compelling the embattled former president to testify about his alleged plans to overturn the 2020 election and the riot that erupted following his “Stop the Steal” rally on the Ellipse, select committee member Jamie Raskin said hearing directly from Trump would help close the loop on all the one-sided conversations investigators had had with Trump-aligned witnesses who had invoked their Constitutional right against self-incrimination.
“One way of addressing the 30 or so witnesses who took the Fifth when it came to Donald Trump’s own actions, is to call in Donald Trump himself,” the Maryland Democrat told reporters outside the committee hearing room.
Witnesses who’ve resisted the House’s efforts include former Trump adviser Peter Navarro, former White House chief of Staff Mark Meadows and the onetime White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who has a sentencing hearing Friday after his conviction for criminal contempt of Congress.
When asked why the former president, who is famous for tying up court challenges for years, would come forward now, Raskin said it would be his best chance at setting the record straight.
“It’s hard for me to imagine any American citizen being accused of essentially trying to overthrow his or her own government who wouldn’t welcome the opportunity to come forward and to testify,” Raskin said.
When pressed about why committee members decided to subpoena Trump instead of former Vice President Mike Pence, chairman Bennie Thompson said investigators were satisfied with their understanding of Pence’s role in resisting Trump’s campaign to invalidate Joe Biden’s lawful victory.
“We have collected enough evidence that former Vice President Pence did his job,” Thompson told reporters after the committee’s ninth and most likely final public hearing.
Pence mused about testifying earlier this year.
But his whereabouts and activities in the days leading up to and throughout the chaos of January 6 were corroborated by extensive testimony provided by senior Pence aides and advisors, whereas investigators maintain that the full picture of Trump’s involvement remains known only to him.
The subpoena vote came after investigators spent several hours highlighting new information culled from Secret Service emails and previously unseen documentary footage shot inside the Capitol while MAGA loyalists were swarming the building.
The latest breakouts include that Trump began plotting during the summer of 2020 to falsely claim victory in that fall’s election. And that even though he knew full well he had lost the election, Trump fought it anyway because he was embarrassed about losing Biden.