Donald Trump has been subpoenaed to testify in an investigation into last year’s U.S. Capitol riots.
The committee investigating the deadly violence in Washington, D.C., has demanded testimony and records from the former president, saying he “personally orchestrated” a plot to overturn the 2020 election.
Chairman Benny Thompson and Vice Chairman Liz Cheney wrote in a letter to Trump: “We recognize that issuing a subpoena to the former president is a significant and historic action.”
“We will not take this action lightly,” they added.
U.S. politicians say the former president is “at the heart” of a coordinated effort to overturn the 2020 election result.
The nine-member committee panel has written to Mr. Trump’s lawyers, asking him to testify under oath by Nov. 14.
The letter also requested a series of corresponding documents, including personal communications between the former president and members of Congress and extremist groups.
It is unclear how Trump and his legal team will respond to the subpoena.
He can obey or negotiate with the committee, declaring that he will either ignore the subpoena or ignore it entirely. He could also go to court and try to stop it.
Mr Trump’s subpoena comes after former White House adviser Steve Bannon was sacked jailed for four months for not appearing before the committee.
He was convicted of ignoring a summons and fined $6,500 (£5,300).
Former US federal prosecutor Dennis Outgut told Sky News: “I think (the committee) should call him a bluff. I think they should tell Donald Trump, ‘Well, you can testify publicly. No more It’s up to you to set many conditions. We don’t negotiate with terrorists, you can do a five-minute opening statement and we’ll ask you questions.
“I’m sure if they called him a bluff, he would find some excuse not to testify.
“The difference between him and Bannon is that it’s really too late for this committee. Their time ends on Jan. 3, 2023, unless Democrats have a chance to win the House and extend their terms, so It’s easy for Donald Trump to kill off in a way that Steve Bannon couldn’t.”
Trump ‘at center of bloody attack on Capitol’
The letter Mr Trump received did not shy away from placing the allegations directly at his feet.
Chairman Thompson and Vice Chairman Cheney wrote that the committee gathered “overwhelming evidence” that Trump “personally planned and oversaw a multifaceted effort to overthrow the 2020 presidential election and impede a peaceful transition of power.”
It highlighted that the former president sought to overturn the election on baseless accusations of voter fraud.
Rush into the Capitol: How four hours of chaos unfolded in Washington, D.C.
The letter continued: “Despite more than 60 court rulings dismissing your election fraud charges and other challenges to the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election, you took all these actions despite the Justice Department and your senior campaign The team provided specific and detailed information. The staff informs you that your election claim is false, despite your obligation as president to ensure that the laws of our country are faithfully enforced.
“In short, you were at the center of the first and only time an American president overturned an election and blocked a peaceful transition of power, culminating in a bloody attack on our own Capitol and Congress itself.”
However, U.S. politicians say key details of what Trump did and said during the Capitol attack remained unknown.
According to the committee, the only person who can fill the vacancy is Trump himself.
A panel of seven Democrats and two Republicans unexpectedly voted last week to approve a subpoena against Trump. Every member voted yes.
The next day, Trump posted a lengthy memo on his social media site, Truth Social, repeating his false claims about widespread election fraud and expressing his “anger at the committee’s failure to investigate his claims.” , disappointment and complaints”.
He did not mention the subpoena.
‘Former presidents are just citizens like anyone else’
At the same time, Chairman Thompson and Vice Chairman Cheney made it clear that the subpoena is not an unprecedented move and that presidents have a long history of providing evidence to Congress.
The letter also quoted President Roosevelt, who said “the former president was only a citizen of the United States, just like any other citizen” to remind Mr. Trump of his obligation to appear on the committee.