Former US President Donald Trump was issued an order on Friday to testify under oath and provide documents to the House of Representatives committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters.
The committee said it had sent a subpoena to Trump requiring documents to be submitted to the panel by Nov. 4 and him to appear for deposition testimony beginning on or about Nov. 14.
Deposition testimony refers to closed-door, videotaped questioning of a witness on the record which could be made public and become part of a final report by the special panel.
“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 transition of power,” the committee wrote in a letter to Trump on Friday, October 21.
Trump has accused the committee of waging unfair political attacks on him while refusing to investigate his charges of widespread election fraud.
Trump might not cooperate with the subpoena and could simply run out the clock on a committee whose mandate will likely end early next year if Republicans win a majority in the House in November’s midterm elections.
The January 6 Capitol riot by Trump motivated mob saw rioters smash through glass and battle police. Five people including a police officer died during or shortly after the riot, more than 140 police officers were injured, the Capitol suffered millions of dollars in damage and Vice President Mike Pence, members of Congress and staff were sent running for their lives.
The committee announcement came just hours after Steve Bannon, a former adviser to Trump, was sentenced by a federal judge to four months in prison for refusing to cooperate with the panel’s investigation.
The House Select committee’s seven Democratic and two Republican members voted unanimously on Oct. 13 in favor of subpoenaing Trump, a move that could lead to criminal charges if he does not comply.
“In short, you were at the center of the first and only effort by any U.S. president to overturn an election and obstruct the peaceful transition of power, ultimately culminating in a bloody attack on our own Capitol and on the Congress itself,” Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson and Vice Chair Liz Cheney wrote Trump.
Federal law says that failure to comply with a congressional subpoena is a misdemeanor, punishable by one to 12 months imprisonment. If the select committee’s subpoena is ignored, the committee would vote to refer the issue to the full House. The House then would vote on whether to make a referral to the Department of Justice, which has the authority to decide whether to bring charges.