The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection said former President Donald Trump “did not comply” with his subpoena for documents and testimony.
“In the coming days, the committee will assess next steps in the litigation and regarding the disrespect of the former president,” said Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson and GOP Rep. Liz Cheney, who serve as chair and vice-president, respectively. chairman of the committee. statement.
The committee has previously held witnesses in contempt of Congress for defying panel subpoenas, but has little ability to force compliance with the subpoena quickly in court.
Trump sued the committee on Nov. 11 to challenge his subpoena according to documents filed in federal court in Florida. His lawsuit sought to challenge both the legitimacy of the committee – which multiple courts have upheld – and to argue that he should be shielded from testimony about his time as president.
Thompson and Cheney said in their statement on Monday: “[Trump’s] the lawyers made no attempt to negotiate an appearance of any kind, and his lawsuit presents many of the same arguments that the courts have rejected repeatedly over the past year.
Trump’s lawyers said in court documents that they had communicated with the House over the past week and a half as subpoena deadlines approached, offering to consider answering written questions while expressing “concerns and objections” to the bulk of the document requests. After Trump missed his first deadline to produce documents on November 4, his team responded on November 9, according to court documents, saying he would not testify and found no records to turn over relating to personal communications.
“The truth is that Donald Trump, like many of his closest allies, is hiding from the select committee’s investigation and refusing to do what over a thousand other witnesses have done,” Thompson and Cheney wrote. . “Donald Trump orchestrated a scheme to cancel a presidential election and block the transfer of power. He is obligated to provide answers to the American people.
The panel subpoenaed Trump on Oct. 21 for documents before Nov. 4 and testimony from Nov. 14. When the former president failed to deliver the documents by the first deadline, Thompson accused Trump’s team of trying to delay, according to court documents.
“Given the timing and nature of your letter — without any acknowledgment that Mr. Trump will ultimately comply with the subpoena — your approach on his behalf appears to be a delaying tactic,” Thompson wrote.
In Trump’s lawsuit, his lawyers argued that “President Trump’s request for subpoenas and documents is an unwarranted intrusion into the institution of the presidency because there are other sources of requested information, including including the thousands of witnesses the Committee has contacted and a million documents the Committee has collected.
Trump said in the lawsuit that the House demands, if met, would violate privilege protections around the executive branch, including revealing conversations he had with Justice Department officials and state officials. members of Congress about the 2020 election and “pending government business”.
He also argued in court that he shouldn’t have to reveal the inner workings of his 2020 presidential campaign, “including his political beliefs, strategy, and fundraising. President Trump has not audited his constitutional rights at the door of the Oval Office.Because the committee’s subpoena to President Trump violates his First Amendment rights, it is invalid.
Trump attorney David Warrington said in a statement with the release of the lawsuit in part that “precedent and long-standing practice hold that the separation of powers prohibits Congress from compelling a president to testify before it.” .
Trump’s back and forth with the House followed by the trial will make it much harder for the committee to enforce the subpoena — and the dispute will be essentially unresolved before the current Congress expires in January.
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