Six U.S. House committees vote to subpoena Trump in January

WASHINGTON, Oct 13 (Reuters) – A U.S. House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump on Jan. 6, 2021 voted unanimously on Thursday to subpoena the man. The former president, if he fails to comply with the move, could lead to criminal charges.

Seven Democrats and two Republicans on the House select committee voted 9-0 to subpoena Trump for sworn documents and testimony related to the attack on the Capitol.

“He has to be held accountable. He has to be held accountable for his actions. He has to be held accountable for the police officers who risked their lives and bodies to defend our democracy. He has to be held accountable for the millions of Americans who voted him out as part of his plan to stay in power. part,” said Rep. Benny Thompson, the panel’s Democratic chairman.

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The vote came after the committee spent more than two hours working through member statements, documents and recorded testimony that Trump planned to deny early his defeat in the 2020 election by failing to undo the thousands of supporters who stormed the Capitol. , and continued his false claim that the election was stolen, even when close advisers told him he had lost.

Federal law makes failure to comply with a congressional subpoena a misdemeanor punishable by 1 to 12 months in prison. If a select committee’s subpoena is ignored, the House must vote on whether to refer it to the Justice Department, which has the power to decide whether to bring charges.

looming mid-term

The subpoenas are expected to be issued within a few days, usually giving Trump a date he should comply with. It is unclear when the House of Representatives, which does not leave Washington until mid-November, will be able to vote on whether to make criminal referrals.

Trump responded to the vote with angry comments on his social media service, Truth Social. “Why did they wait until the end, the last minute of their last meeting? Because the committee is a total ‘BUST’ and will only further divide our country, which by the way is doing very badly – laughing stock all over the world ?” he wrote.

A former Trump adviser, Steve Bannon, will be sentenced next week after a jury found him in contempt of Congress for not complying with a committee subpoena. But the Justice Department declined to indict another Mark Meadows, who had also been recommended by the House of Representatives.

Federal prosecutors are also investigating the former president for taking classified documents from the White House at the end of his term, warning that they do not believe they have recovered all the stolen documents.

For more than a year, a House select committee has been investigating the attack on the Capitol, which injured more than 140 police officers and killed several, and interviewed more than 1,000 witnesses.

Thompson said he acknowledged that subpoenaing the former president was a serious move, but he believed it was critical to the future of American democracy.

Thursday’s meeting follows eight hearings earlier this year and one in July 2021. There were no live witnesses on Thursday, but the panel provided video testimony to prove that Trump’s efforts to overturn the defeat of the November 2020 presidential election constitute illegal conduct that goes well beyond normal politics.

fear of violence

The committee provided evidence from Secret Service agents and intelligence officials who said by Jan. 6 that they expected violence at pro-Trump rallies and believed weapons were hidden around Washington.

“Their plan is to literally kill. Please take this tip seriously and investigate further,” Dec. 26 Secret Service emails said.

Thursday’s vote could be the committee’s last public action before Nov. 19. Eight midterm elections will decide whether President Joe Biden’s Democratic colleagues or Trump’s Republicans control Congress.

The commission will also release a report on its findings in the coming weeks.

The panel’s Republican vice chair, Rep. Liz Cheney, said the panel could eventually decide to file a series of criminal cases with the Justice Department.

Hearings this year may lead some Republicans to believe that Trump was partly responsible for the attack. A two-day Reuters/Ipsos poll, which ended on Wednesday, showed that two-fifths of Republicans believed Trump was at least partially responsible for the attack.

Previous hearings have focused on Trump’s inaction before and during the Capitol, where he pressured Vice President Mike Pence to deny a Biden victory, militias whose members were involved in attacks, and Trump’s interactions with close advisers , questioning his false accusations of massive voter fraud.

The one-time reality TV star has denied wrongdoing and suggested he will be in the White House again in 2024. He held frequent rallies and continued to falsely claim that he had lost the election due to widespread fraud.

More than 880 arrests have been made in connection with the violence, and more than 400 have so far pleaded guilty.

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Reporting by Patricia Zengerle, Moira Warburton and Doina Chiacu; Additional reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Scott Malone, Aurora Ellis and Rosalba O’Brien

Our Standard: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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