WASHINGTON — The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol said Friday it was in discussions with former President Donald J. Trump and his lawyers about his compliance with the panel’s subpoena, giving him additional time to respond.
Mr. Trump had a Friday morning deadline to comply with the subpoena’s demand for documents and communication records, but the committee did not indicate that he had provided any. The former president’s committee interview is scheduled for Nov. 14.
“We have received correspondence from the former president and his counsel in connection with the select committee’s subpoena,” Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi, and Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming, said in a joint statement. “We have informed the former president’s counsel that he must begin producing records no later than next week, and he remains under subpoena for deposition testimony.”
The committee issued a subpoena to Mr. Trump last month, one of the most aggressive steps it has taken in what was already one of the most consequential congressional investigations in decades. The subpoena directs Mr. Trump to produce an extensive list of records — including phone calls, texts, encrypted messages and email — related to nearly every aspect of his effort to invalidate the 2020 election between the dates of Nov. 3, 2020, and Jan. 6, 2021.
The committee’s lawyers have at times allowed witnesses who engage in good faith negotiations to delay their compliance with a subpoena. But Ms. Cheney said this week that Mr. Trump must comply with the demand.
“The committee is in discussions with President Trump’s attorneys, and he has an obligation to comply,” Ms. Cheney said at an event at the City Club of Cleveland.
Ms. Cheney said Mr. Trump should not be allowed to dictate the terms of his committee interview.
“This is not a situation where the committee is going to put itself at the mercy of Donald Trump in terms of his efforts to create a circus,” Ms. Cheney said, adding: “We haven’t made determinations about the format itself, but it will be done under oath; it will be done potentially over multiple days.”
The committee’s subpoena came weeks before the midterm elections, as the Justice Department continued a separate criminal inquiry into efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Disputes over the subpoena may thrust Mr. Trump and the Jan. 6 committee into a legal battle that could ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court.
But Mr. Trump may also be able to use a legal battle to outlast the committee, which is almost certain to shut down early next year if Republicans take control of the House in next week’s elections, as is widely expected.
The subpoena asked for material on the former president’s bid to create false slates of pro-Trump electors in states he lost, his connections to the militia groups that attended the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, any attempts to delay or disrupt the electoral count by Congress on that day, and his interactions with lawmakers.
A lawyer for Mr. Trump has said his firm would review the subpoena but criticized the panel for its handling of what he called an “unprecedented action.”
In recent weeks, the panel has interviewed several Secret Service officials, asking them questions about the more than 1.5 million pages of documents and communications investigators obtained from the agency. Those documents include details of how agents blocked Mr. Trump’s attempts to join his supporters at the Capitol on Jan. 6 even after they had begun the assault.
The communications lay out how Secret Service personnel attempted to find a route to take Mr. Trump to the Capitol in a presidential S.U.V., and how those plans were ultimately rebuffed amid the chaos.
Committee members have indicated that they believe some officials were less than forthcoming regarding the events of Jan. 6 in earlier interviews with the panel.
Source: NY Times