Former President Donald Trump may have celebrated the committee’s latest Jan. 6 news a touch early, excited about a “white flag” that may have come from the wrong opponents.
On Wednesday, the House panel investigating the Capitol riots announced it would withdraw the subpoena it issued to Trump, noting that given the committee’s end date, congressional investigators would not have time to investigate the testimony of the former president.
Trump’s attorney Harmeet Dhillon welcomed the news via Twitter. explain that “the committee waved the white flag and withdrew the subpoena” after her company helped Trump file a lawsuit to block the order.
But Trump may not be entirely sure to testify just yet. Even if the committee has withdrawn its subpoena, the Department of Justice (DOJ) could still issue one of its own — one with even greater weight in deciding whether federal prosecutors will indict Trump for his role in the Capitol attack.
Unlike the House Committee, which must rely on the DOJ to enforce its subpoena, the DOJ would not have to rely on any other agency, Attorney Andrew Lieb said news week. He explained that the department could use its own authority to compel Trump to comply, and that if the former president still ignores the Justice Department’s subpoena, prosecutors could easily file a motion to contempt Trump.
According to criminal attorney Olga Izmaylova, Wednesday’s withdrawal could mean an even worse legal fate for Trump.
“My guess is that the January 6 committee probably withdrew its subpoenas because it knows the DOJ is preparing to issue some of its own,” she said news week.
And when the DOJ starts issuing subpoenas, criminal charges are likely to follow.
Izmaylova said while testimony before the House panel could be used for criminal charges, an indictment is not the primary goal of a congressional committee. On the other hand, the primary goal of the DOJ in any investigation is to bring criminal charges.
Thus, a subpoena from the DOJ would mean that prosecutors are “conducting a criminal investigation with a view to bringing charges.”
And since the DOJ has the power to subpoena anyone, not just Trump, the department might decide to go after Trump’s inner circle before indicting the former president, to build an even stronger case against Trump himself.
For example, the committee also officially withdrew the subpoena on GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano on Wednesday, but the DOJ could issue a subpoena of its own to Mastriano, a central figure in Trump’s effort to overturn the results of Pennsylvania’s 2020 election.
Several legal scholars have claimed that the final report and evidence released by the Jan. 6 committee last week would provide the DOJ with enough information to take down Trump’s associates.
https://www.newsweek.com/donald-trump-january-6-subpoena-withdrawal-celebration-may-short-lived-1770251 Trump’s subpoena celebration may be short-lived