House select committee watches video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer appealing for help as they shelter during the attack on the US Capitol, January 6, 2021 (Haiyun Jiang/The New York Times)


The House select committee on the Capitol Attack has formally subpoenaed Donald Trump to give testimony and hand over documents.

Trump is required to provide the documents by November 4 and to appear for a deposition under oath on or about November 14.

The subpoenaed material includes phone calls, texts, encrypted messages, and e-mail over Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election. The House cited the effort to create false slates of pro-Trump electors in states he lost; his connections to the militias in the Capitol Attacks; attempts to delay or disrupt the Congressional certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory; and his interactions with members of Congress.

Commitee leaders Rep. Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi, and Rep. Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming, wrote Trump on Friday:

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 multipart effort to overturn the 2020 Presidential election and to obstruct the peaceful transition of power.

Trump’s lawyer David Warrington complained on Friday night about the “unprecedented action”: “We understand that, once again, flouting norms and appropriate and customary process, the committee has publicly released a copy of its subpoena.”

ORIGINAL ENTRY, OCT 14: At the end of a dramatic session of evidence on Thursday, the House select committee on the Capitol Attack unanimously voted to subpoena Donald Trump over his central role in the assault on January 6, 2021.

The subpoena is unlikely to force Trump’s compliance, with the House likely to be controlled by Republicans from January. However, it highlighted the assembly of testimony and documents establishing Trump’s incitement of violence.

The committee showed previously unreleased video from the secure location where Congressional leaders sheltered during the attack. Both Democratic and Republican legislators, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, phoned senior national security officials and governors to call up the National Guard or to press Trump to call off the attack.

As she received reports that legislator were putting on gas masks, anticipating a breach of restricted areas by the attackers, Pelosi asked, “Do you believe this?” Schumer urged Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen to get Trump to ask supporters to leave the Capitol, with lawmakers still hiding in offices.

Committee vice-chair Liz Cheney, a Republican from Wyoming, summarized, “None of this is normal, acceptable or lawful in our republic….We are obligated to seek answers from the man who set this all in motion. And every American is entitled to those answers.”

Chair Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi, followed up, “[Trump is the one person at the center of the story of what happened on January 6. He must be accountable. He is required to answer for his actions.”

A Pre-Emptive Coup

The committee also heard how Trump’s camp planned on an announcement to pre-empt the outcome of the election, effectively a seizure of power.

Right-wing activist Tom Fitton, the head of Judicial Watch suggested a statement by Trump to overtake any counting of early and absentee votes: “The ballots counted by the Election Day deadline show the American people have bestowed on me the great honor of re-election to President of the United States — the deadline by which voters in states across the country must choose a President.”

Fitton indicated in a text message that he discussed the idea with Trump.

Late on Election Night, Trump tried to implement the plan with a declaration that he had “won” as his supporters mobilized to interfere with counts in swing states such as Arizona and Michigan.

The committee’s Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California noted:

This big lie, President Trump’s effort to convince Americans that he had won the 2020 election, began before the election results even came in. It was intentional, it was premeditated, it was not based on election results or any evidence of actual fraud affecting the results or any actual problems with voting machines.

Trump was told by advisors such as his daughter Ivanka and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, that he should accept his loss, with more than 60 courts ruling against his claim of a fraudulent election.

But Trump persisted with “Stop the Steal” and plans for the January 6 gatherings in Washington, outside the White House and at the Capitol.

Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, recalled, “[Trump] said something to the effect of: ‘I don’t want people to know we lost, Mark. This is embarrassing.'”

Trump gave no indication if he would comply with the subpoena. Instead he complained:

Why didn’t the Unselect Committee ask me to testify months ago? Why did they wait until the very end, the final moments of their last meeting?

Because the Committee is a total ‘BUST’ that has only served to further divide our Country which, by the way, is doing very badly – A laughing stock all over the World?

Committee member Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Republican of Illinois, noted: