The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol says it is considering “next steps” after former President Trump failed to appear for his Monday deposition following a subpoena last month.
In a joint statement from Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Vice Chairwoman Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the panel bashed Trump for filing a lawsuit Friday challenging the subpoena, accusing him of “hiding” after he was compelled to appear for testimony Monday.
“Even though the former President initially suggested that he would testify before the committee, he has since filed a lawsuit asking the courts to protect him from giving testimony. His attorneys have made no attempt to negotiate an appearance of any sort, and his lawsuit parades out many of the same arguments that courts have rejected repeatedly over the last year,” the two said in a statement.
“The truth is that Donald Trump, like several of his closest allies, is hiding from the Select Committee’s investigation and refusing to do what more than a thousand other witnesses have done,” they added.
The committee has in other cases extended deadlines for those who have engaged with it, and it has likewise acted swiftly in cases where people have defied subpoenas, including forwarding votes to hold those such as former White House strategist Stephen Bannon in contempt of Congress.
“In the days ahead, the committee will evaluate next steps in the litigation and regarding the former president’s noncompliance,” Thompson and Cheney wrote.
It’s unclear if the committee would move to hold Trump in contempt of Congress while Democrats remain in control during the lame-duck session or if the Department of Justice (DOJ) would pursue the recommendation.
But the justice system in this instance won’t move swiftly enough to aid the committee, which is due to sunset at the end of this Congress and holds little chance of being revived by Republicans should they overtake the House, as is expected after last week’s midterm elections.
The suit initiated by Trump will take months at a minimum to move through the courts, as would any prosecution from the DOJ.
The Justice Department, however, has two ongoing investigations involving Trump, one probing Jan. 6 and the other his role in mishandling national security information by transporting government records to Mar-a-Lago.
The committee subpoenaed Trump in its last hearing on Oct. 13.
“He is the one person at the center of the story of what happened on Jan. 6. So we want to hear from him. The committee needs to do everything in our power to tell the most complete story possible and provide recommendations to help ensure that nothing like Jan. 6 ever happens again. We need to be fair and thorough in getting the full context for the evidence we’ve obtained,” Thompson said at the time.
The next day, Trump issued a 14-page response, trumpeting many of his earlier false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him.