During the last day of the January 6 Select Committee hearings, committee members voted unanimously to subpoena former President Donald Trump to testify.
Chairman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi (D) argued that Trump was the person responsible for the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
“We have left no doubt, none, that Donald Trump led an effort to upend American democracy that directly resulted in the violence of January 6. He tried to take away the voice of the American people in choosing their president, and place the will of the voters with his will to remain in power. He is the one person at the center of the story of what happened on January 6. We want to hear from him,” Thompson stated.
Congresswoman Liz Cheney (WY-R), VIce-Chair of the January 6 Select Committee, lost her seat during her Wyoming primary and will not be returning to congress in 2023.
“Our committee now has sufficient information to answer many of the critical questions posed by Congress at the outset. We have sufficient information to consider criminal referrals for multiple individuals, and to recommend a range of legislative proposals to guard against another January 6. But a key task remains. We must seek the testimony, under oath, of January 6’s central player,” Cheney added.
“Congressional leadership recognized on a bipartisan basis that President Trump was the only person who could get the mob to end its violent siege of the Congress, leave the Capitol, and go home,” exclaimed Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD).
If Trump legally challenges the subpoena, it is a slim chance that federal judiciary would resolve the litigation before the end of the current Congress.
House Republicans have been vocal that they intend to disband the Select Committee should the republicans win control of the House on November 8.
This is not an historical precedent to have a president subpoenaed.
President Thomas Jefferson was subpoenaed for his former vice-president Aaron Burr’s trial for treason on June 13, 1807. Jefferson was reluctant to appear but did submit documents.
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President Richard Nixon’s White House tapes were subpoenaed during the Watergate investigation. Nixon challenged it in the courts, where it was decided there was no executive privilege protection. In the end, Nixon resigned.
“The president’s generalized assertion of privilege must yield to the demonstrated, specific need for evidence in a pending criminal trial and the fundamental demands of due process of law in the fair administration of criminal justice,” the court stated in 1974.
President William Clinton was subpoenaed during the civil case filed against him by Paul Jones for sexual harassment.
The Supreme Court ruled that Clinton was not immune from the civil suit.
The court ruled that it was settled law “that the president is subject to judicial process in appropriate circumstances.”
We have made clear,” the court wrote, “that in a criminal case the powerful interest in the ‘fair administration of criminal justice’ requires that the evidence be given under appropriate circumstances lest the ‘very integrity of the judicial system’ be eroded.”
The subpoena was pulled when Clinton voluntarily decided to testify.