What does Trump’s subpoena mean? What’s next for the January 6th panel?

Trump has been adamantly hostile to the investigation, calling it a “charade and a witch hunt” in a 14-page letter to the committee on Friday.

WASHINGTON — In an extraordinary move, the House 6 Committee voted unanimously to subpoena former President Donald Trump — a last-ditch effort to get the full story of the Capitol riot as the panel wraps up its work by the end of the year.

Trump still doesn’t recognize the “former” before “president,” and he’s been adamant hostile to the investigation. He called it a “charade and witch hunt” in a letter to the committee on Friday – but made no specific mention of the subpoena or whether he would comply with requests for his appearance.

The attempt to coerce Trump’s testimony comes as the committee pulls together multiple investigative strands and compiles its final report. The panel is authorized only by this congress, which ends on January 3rd.

A look at what’s next as the panel sprints to the finish:

THE TRUMP SUBMISSION

The nine-member committee interviewed more than 1,000 witnesses, including many of the former president’s top White House aides. And they have detailed a timeline of Trump’s efforts to reverse his 2020 election defeat – including his inaction as his supporters stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021. But they still want to hear from Trump himself.

Now that a subpoena has been approved — Thursday — it must be served on Trump in writing. That move, expected early next week, will set a date for an interview and work out requirements for documents.

Trump and his lawyers will then decide how to respond. He could comply, negotiate with the committee, announce that he will resist the subpoena or ignore it altogether. He could also go to court and try to prevent it.

If Trump fails to comply, the panel must weigh the practical and political implications of a vote to deem him a contempt of Congress. If the entire House voted to recommend such an indictment, the Justice Department would consider the case.

The committee took the step with some of Trump’s allies who refused to comply with subpoenas, including Steve Bannon, who was convicted of contempt in July. But despising a former president would be another matter, an extraordinary move for any Congress.

In his Friday letter, Trump reiterated his false claims of widespread voter fraud and said he was writing to express “anger, disappointment and grievance” that the committee is not investigating his claims. He also took the opportunity to boast again about the size of the crowd that gathered near the White House on the morning of January 6 for his speech before marching them to the Capitol. He added aerial photos. He said nothing about the subpoena.

Even if he does, there’s reason to doubt Trump’s appearance would help the investigation. He answered some written questions from Special Counsel Robert Mueller during his 2016 campaign investigation into Russian cooperation. But his answers did little or nothing to advance the investigation. More recently, he appeared on testimony from New York State Attorney General Letitia James’ office — but invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination more than 400 times by refusing to answer questions.

WHAT ABOUT PENCE?

The committee is in talks with attorneys for former Vice President Mike Pence, as it has been for months. However, it’s unclear whether lawmakers will subpoena the vice president or ask him to testify.

Several of Pence’s aides have spoken to investigators, some of whom have given great detail about his movements and mental state as he defied Trump’s pleas to object to electoral vote certification that day and attempt to ameliorate their defeat to Joe Biden and repealing Kamala Harris.

Video, shown Thursday at the committee’s last hearing before the midterm elections, showed Pence reaching out to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer for help as the rioters moved were in the building and some of them called for Pence’s execution. The leaders worked with security officials to ensure they could return to the Capitol and confirm Biden’s victory.

A SENTENCE?

The committee will also have to decide whether to refer allegations of crimes to the Justice Department. While federal prosecutors conduct their own investigations into Jan. 6 and Trump’s efforts to overturn the election, the congressional committee has a separate, massive body of evidence.

The body’s lawmakers have hinted several times over the past year that they will issue criminal reprimands. At Thursday’s hearing, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the Republican vice chair of the committee, said the panel could “ultimately decide” to do so. She said they had “sufficient information to consider criminal referrals for multiple individuals.”

While such a referral would not compel action, it would increase political pressure on Attorney General Merrick Garland as the department continues its own investigation.

INTELLIGENCE

The committee recently received more than 1.5 million pages of documents from the Secret Service. But lawmakers say he still doesn’t have everything he wants.

The panel is working to review reports from White House aides that detailed Trump’s actions on Jan. 6 when he attempted to go to the Capitol and escort his supporters, hundreds of whom eventually broke in. Security officials, along with many White House aides and GOP members in Congress, were vehemently opposed to the idea. Trump was furious and tried, ultimately unsuccessfully, to go to the Capitol anyway, multiple reports from the committee show.

California Rep. Pete Aguilar, a Democratic member of the panel, said lawmakers will “recall witnesses and conduct further investigations” based on the Secret Service material. The agency has not turned over any text messages that it says have been deleted.

FINAL REPORT

The panel’s expected final action will be a comprehensive report laying out evidence, findings and legislative recommendations to ensure nothing like January 6th ever happens again. However, it is unclear how much of his investigative footage will be released to the public.

In one of eight hearings last summer, Maryland Assemblyman Jamie Raskin, another Democrat, said, “We only showed a small fraction of what we found.”

Lawmakers have made it clear that the report will lay out what they believe is at stake for the country, as many Republicans still mistakenly believe the 2020 election was stolen and as Trump is considering another run in 2024 pulls.

“In any effort to excuse or justify the former president’s behavior, we are grinding away the foundation of our republic,” Cheney said at the hearing.

https://www.kvue.com/article/news/nation-world/trump-subpoena-and-whats-next-for-the-jan-6-panel/507-fce4c9df-186b-4391-86ca-c80252fbd05c What does Trump’s subpoena mean? What’s next for the January 6th panel?

Laura Coffey

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