Washington, Oct 13 (EFE).- The congressional select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the United States Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump voted Thursday to issue a subpoena for the former president, whose initial reaction indicated that he is likely to fight the subpoena in court.
The nine members of the panel voted unanimously to require testimony and documents from the Republican, who remains unwilling to concede that he lost the 2020 election to Democrat Joe Biden.
“It is our obligation to seek Donald Trump’s testimony,” the committee chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson, said before the vote. “There is precedent in American history for Congress to compel the testimony of a president.”
Trump, the Mississippi Democrat said, “tried to take away the voice of the American people in choosing their president and replace 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 Jan. 6.”
The then-president had urged supporters to march to the Capitol as Congress was meeting in joint session to certify Biden’s victory.
The decision to issue the subpoena, which will expire at the end of the present congressional term on Jan. 23, 2023, comes less than a month before mid-term elections for the Senate and House of Representatives, both currently controlled by the Democrats.
If Trump refused to honor the subpoena, the select committee will have the option to hold him in contempt, though that decision would have to be confirmed by a majority of the House.
A vote by the House to hold the former president in contempt would leave it to Attorney General Merrick Garland to determine whether to pursue criminal contempt charges against Trump.
Trump, who refers to the congressional panel as the “Unselect Committee,” was quick to denounce the subpoena.
“Why didn’t the Unselect Committee ask me to testify months ago?,” the real estate mogul said in a post on his Truth Social social media platform.
“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?,” Trump wrote.
Five people died and 140 police were injured in the violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
During Thursday’s hearing, the committee presented evidence that Trump decided before the November 2020 elections that he would refuse to accept the results if he lost.
The panel also highlighted a message from Trump adviser Jason Miller to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in January 2021 claiming credit for getting the president’s “base FIRED UP.”
The message included a link to a webpage with hundreds of threatening comments about lawmakers. “Our ‘lawmakers’ in Congress can leave one of two ways: 1. in a body bag 2. After rightfully certifying Trump the winner,” one post on the webpage said. EFE