The House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021 riot on Capitol Hill said former President Donald Trump has “failed to comply” with a subpoena for documents and testimony.
“In the coming days, the committee will evaluate the case and the next steps regarding the former president’s non-compliance,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Democrat, and Rep. Liz Cheney, a Republican, who serve as the committee’s chairman and vice chair, respectively. statement
The commission has previously held witnesses in contempt of Congress for defying the panel’s subpoenas, but has little ability to compel speedy compliance with the subpoena through the courts.
Trump sued the commission on Nov. 11 as a way to challenge his subpoena, according to filings in federal court in Florida. His lawsuit sought to challenge the commission’s legitimacy – which many courts have upheld – and claimed he should be excluded from testifying about his time as president.
Thompson and Cheney said in a statement Monday: “[Trump’s] His lawyers have made no attempt to negotiate a plea, and his lawsuit raises the same arguments that have been repeatedly rejected by the courts over the past year.’
Trump’s lawyers said they had been communicating with the House over the past week and a half as the subpoena deadline approached in court filings, offering to consider answering written questions while expressing “concerns and objections” to most of the document requests. After Trump missed the first deadline on Nov. 4 to produce documents, his team responded on Nov. 9 that he would not testify and found no records related to personal communications, according to court documents.
“The truth is that Donald Trump, like some 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,” Thompson and Cheney wrote. “Donald Trump organized a scheme to cancel the presidential election and block the transfer of power. He is forced to give answers to the American people.”
The panel subpoenaed Trump on October 21 asking for documents by November 4 and testimony by November 14. When the former president failed to deliver 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 acknowledging that Mr. Trump will comply with the subpoena — your approach on his behalf appears to be a delaying tactic,” Thompson wrote.
In Trump’s case, his lawyers argued: “The subpoena seeking testimony and documents from President Trump is an unreasonable intrusion into the institution of the Presidency because there are other sources of the requested information, including more than a thousand witnesses contacted by the Commission and a million documents collected by the Commission.”
Trump said in the lawsuit that the House’s demands, if met, would breach executive privilege protections by revealing conversations with Justice Department officials and members of Congress about the 2020 election and “pending government business.”
He also argued to the court that he should not be required to reveal the inner workings of the 2020 presidential campaign, “including his political beliefs, strategy and fundraising. President Trump did not check his constitutional rights at the Oval Office door. The committee’s subpoenas to President Trump violate his First Amendment rights.” because it violates them, it is invalid.
Trump’s attorney, David Warrington, said in a statement accompanying the lawsuit’s release that “long-standing precedent and practice maintain that the separation of powers prohibits Congress from compelling a president to testify before it.”
Trump’s back-and-forth with the House will make it much more difficult for the committee to enforce the subpoena, and the dispute will be essentially impossible to resolve before the current Congress expires in January.