Trump Misses Deadline to Deliver Documents Congress Subpoenaed
WASHINGTON — The deadline came and went Friday for Donald Trump to deliver documents that answer the subpoena from the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol.
Lawmakers warned him he would suffer consequences for ignoring the subpoena, perhaps even criminal charges.
Instead of responding to the subpoena, the twice impeached president dropped hints he will make another run for the presidency in 2024.
During a political rally in Sioux City, Iowa, he said, “In order to make our country successful and safe and glorious, I will very, very, very probably do it again, OK? Very, very, very probably.”
So far, Trump has responded mostly with silence to the subpoena that asked for 19 documents explaining his contacts with right wing extremist groups, either personally or through his staff members.
The subpoena also requests records of any communications indicating Trump or his associates instigated the insurrection at the Capitol in an attempt to block Congress from certifying that Joe Biden won the presidential election.
In addition to the Nov. 4 deadline to submit documents, the Jan. 6 committee scheduled a Nov. 14 hearing for Trump to testify before Congress.
Trump’s attorneys accepted the subpoena after the committee issued it Oct. 21 but Trump has given no clear indication about the extent he might comply with it.
In recent days, he has negotiated with committee members about conditions for his live testimony. He has said he might consider video testimony.
“What Donald is going to do is delay, delay, delay here,” said former Trump attorney Michael Cohen during an interview Friday on MSNBC.
The next step is likely to be a legal confrontation over the immunity from prosecution Article II of the Constitution grants the president under the executive privilege provisions.
Executive privilege refers to the right of the president and his staff to maintain confidential communications to help them carry out their duties. The privilege allows them to resist subpoenas and oversight by the legislative and judicial branches of government.
The Supreme Court has upheld the president’s right to executive privilege unless there are indications it might be hiding criminal behavior.
The Jan. 6 committee’s hearings and subpoena imply criminal behavior is exactly what lawmakers are investigating in Trump’s behavior leading to the riot at the Capitol.
“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 transfer of power,” Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., wrote in a letter to Trump when they subpoenaed him.
The subpoena also casts suspicions about a conspiracy on Trump former campaign manager Roger Stone, his attorneys John Eastman and Sidney Powell, a former Secret Service agent and members of Oath Keepers, QAnon and other extremist groups.
The subpoena’s document request asks Trump for “information sufficient to identify every telephone or other communications device” he used from Nov. 3, 2020, to Jan. 20, 2021.
While they awaited delivery of the documents from Trump, the committee interviewed a Secret Service agent Friday about the former president’s actions as he left the Ellipse behind the White House on Jan. 6.
During his Jan. 6 speech to his supporters, Trump urged them to march up the street to the Capitol. He said he would be there with them.
Trump’s former staff members have told the committee that as his motorcade left the Ellipse, Trump angrily told the Secret Service agent driving his car to take him to the Capitol. When his security detail refused, he reportedly tried to grab the steering wheel.
Tom can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @tramstack.
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