The House select committee investigating Donald Trump’s coup attempt culminating in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol subpoenaed the former president Friday, almost certainly setting up a legal battle over his likely refusal to honor the summons.
The subpoena commands Trump to submit evidence by Nov. 4, and sit for a deposition on Nov. 14.
“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 obstruct the peaceful transfer of power,” states an accompanying letter signed by the committee chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), and the vice chair, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.).
Trump’s staff did not respond to a HuffPost request for comment, and by mid-afternoon Friday, Trump had not reacted to the subpoena on his personal social media platform, Truth Social.
The letter to Trump says he “purposefully and maliciously” spread lies about “fraud” in the election, tried to corrupt the Department of Justice into making false statements to help him, orchestrated and oversaw a scheme to submit fake electors to the National Archives and Congress, and pressured his own vice president to unilaterally declare him the winner of the election on Jan. 6, 2021.
It also notes that he filed “false information, under oath, in federal court,” and summoned his followers to Washington, D.C., “knowing they were angry and some were armed, [and] sending them to the Capitol.”
The letter specifically mentions his 2:24 p.m. social media post condemning Vice President Mike Pence for refusing to help further his scheme and then his failure to take any action “for hours” while his mob attacked the Capitol and he watched on television from the White House.
“We recognize that a subpoena to a former president is a significant and historic action. We do not take this action lightly,” the letter states, pointing out the previous presidents, including John Quincy Adams, Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman and Gerald Ford had all testified before Congress after leaving office.
The subpoena asks for 19 separate categories of records, including every communication he sent or received on Jan. 6, all his communications regarding the planning for that day, and his messages with others involved in his rally prior to the mob attack or his fake elector scheme, including Roger Stone, Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Mike Flynn, Sidney Powell, Patrick Byrne and others.
The subpoena specifically asks for any communications with the right-wing Proud Boys and Oath Keepers militia groups, and makes a point of asking for any communications that might have been sent through the encrypted Signal app.
The House panel unanimously voted last week to subpoena Trump, with Cheney calling him “Jan. 6’s central player.”
“We are obligated to seek answers directly from the man who set this all in motion, and every American is entitled to those answers,” Cheney said at the time. “The central cause of Jan. 6 was one man: Donald Trump.”
Trump has continued to dismiss the ongoing investigation.
“Why did they wait until the very end, the final moments of their last meeting?” he asked on his social network Truth Social last week, referring to the subpoena. “Because the Committee is a total ‘BUST’ that has only served to further divide our Country.”
Trump, despite losing the election by 7 million votes nationally and 306-232 in the Electoral College, became the first president in more than two centuries of elections to refuse to hand over power peacefully. His incitement of the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol ― his last-ditch attempt to remain in office ― killed five, including one police officer, injured another 140 officers and led to four police suicides.
Nevertheless, Trump remains the dominant figure in the Republican Party and is openly speaking about running for the presidency again in 2024.