Congress Subpoenas Trump to Explain His Attempts to Hold On to Presidency
WASHINGTON — The House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol voted Tuesday to subpoena Donald Trump to testify about his attempt to hang on to the presidency after losing the election.
Committee members said they want to question Trump about what they implied could be obstruction of justice.
“He must be accountable,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the committee. “He is required to answer for his actions.”
The subpoena marks the first time in American history a president has been ordered by Congress to testify about his own potentially criminal behavior.
The vote by the House Jan. 6 committee followed bombshell evidence at its hearing Tuesday that Trump planned to claim election fraud if he lost the 2020 presidential election as much as months before the first vote was cast.
He acknowledged to his advisors that he lost the election but used deceit and lies to try to remain in power, according to lawmakers and taped evidence from witnesses.
One part of the taped evidence came from Cassidy Hutchinson, a former White House aide and assistant to Trump’s chief of staff, as she described a White House conversation between the former president and his top aides days after the election results showed Joe Biden won.
She quoted Trump saying, “I don’t want people to know that we lost.”
Even more condemning evidence came from Steven Bannon, Trump’s chief political strategist, during a taped conversation with his business associates months before the election. He was discussing Trump’s plan if he lost the upcoming election.
“He’s just going to say he’s the winner,” Bannon said on the videotape.
The election took place on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.
“When you wake up Wednesday morning, it’s going to be a firestorm,” Bannon said on the tape.
Bannon later implied he knew Trump planned to incite his supporters to try to raid the Capitol building on Jan. 6 as Congress met to certify the election win for Biden.
“Strap in,” Bannon said on his Jan. 5 podcast about the next day’s events. “It’s going to be game day.”
Bannon ignored a subpoena from Congress to testify about his statements, leading him to be convicted of contempt of Congress in federal court. He is awaiting sentencing later this month.
More taped evidence against Trump came from Roger Stone, Trump’s former campaign advisor, who was convicted of criminal offenses for lying to hide his behind-the-scenes actions to support the former president. Trump pardoned him days before he was scheduled to report to prison for a 40-month sentence.
The videotape shows Stone talking to one of his associates about what might happen if the election went badly for Trump.
“I really do suspect it will be up in the air,” Stone said on the tape. “When that happens, the thing to do is to declare victory.”
Another videotape on Jan. 5, 2021, shows Stone in Washington, D.C., accompanied by members of the right-wing extremist group called the Oath Keepers. They were acting as his bodyguards.
The next day, the Oath Keepers played a lead role in the insurrection at the Capitol.
Evidence presented at the hearing prompted severe condemnations from lawmakers on the Jan. 6 committee.
“The central cause of Jan. 6 was one man, Donald Trump, who others followed,” said Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., said, “His intent was plain, ignore the rule of law and stay in power.”