- The Washington Times - Friday, October 21, 2022

The House Jan. 6 Committee has formally subpoenaed former President Donald Trump, who the panel says was the central figure behind a coordinated effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

The Democrat-led panel, which voted unanimously to subpoena Mr. Trump at its final hearing earlier this month, is demanding that the former president turn over a list of corresponding documents and testify under oath before the panel by Nov. 14.

“We recognize that a subpoena to a former President is a significant and historic action,” Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson, Mississippi Democrat, and Vice Chair Liz Cheney, Wyoming Republican, wrote in a letter Friday that accompanied the subpoena. “We do not take this action lightly.”

Mr. Trump has accused the committee of undertaking a partisan “witch hunt” and squandering taxpayer dollars in its quest to smear him and Republicans.

Mr. Thompson and Ms. Cheney said they have “overwhelming evidence” of Mr. Trump‘s “multi-part” effort to overturn the 2020 election obtained through the former president’s former appointees and staff.

Mr. Trump‘s efforts, according to the lawmakers, included “purposely and maliciously” perpetuating false allegations of fraud related to the 2020 election, pressuring federal and state officials and members of Congress to overturn the results.

The committee also accuses Mr. Trump of summoning “tens of thousands of supporters to Washington and, knowing they were angry and some were armed, sending them to the Capitol.”

“The evidence demonstrates that you knew this activity was illegal and unconstitutional, and also knew that your assertions of fraud were false,” the lawmakers wrote.

“But, to be clear, even if you now claim that you actually believed your own false election claims, that is not a defense; your subjective belief could not render this conduct justifiable, excusable or legal,” they added. 

The committee says it is considering legislative recommendations to ensure no future president “could succeed at anything even remotely similar” to Mr. Trump‘s actions following the 2020 elections, and that his testimony will “further inform the Select Committee’s ongoing work.”

The lawmakers have previously left the door open to referring their findings to the Department of Justice after their probe.

Mr. Trump lashed out at the committee last week following its final hearing, criticizing the investigation as a “witch hunt of the highest level,” but offered no response to the panel’s demands that he turn over documents and testify under oath.

In a 14-page memo, the former president doubles down on his claims that the 2020 election was “rigged and stolen,” and accuses the panel of “going after American Patriots who questioned it.”

“This memo is being written to express our anger, disappointment, and complaint that with all of the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on what many consider to be a Charade and Witch Hunt,” Mr. Trump wrote.

“Despite strong and powerful requests, you have not spent even a short moment on examining the massive Election Fraud that took place during the 2020 Presidential Election, and have targeted only those who were, as concerned American Citizens, protesting the Fraud itself,” he wrote.

Mr. Trump has attempted to block the release of White House documents claiming they are protected under his claim of executive privilege, leading to a series of court battles throughout the yearlong investigation.

The committee attempted to head off further back-and-forth over the matter on Friday.

“We recognize that the Supreme Court has ruled that former Presidents retain the limited ability to assert executive privilege,” the lawmakers wrote. “But any such privilege is qualified, and, as the D.C. Circuit explained… the Select Committee has a ‘unique and compelling need.’”

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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