The US House of Representatives Jan. 6 committee on Thursday October 13, voted 9-0 to subpoena former President Donald Trump to testify about his role in the storming of the Capitol.
In a dramatic conclusion to their last hearing before the midterm election, the lawmakers voted, one by one, to demand that Trump appear to testify in public, under oath.
“We need to hear from him,” Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the committee chair said.
“This is a question about accountability to the American people. He is required to answer for his actions.”
Trump’s “staggering betrayal of his oath” led to an “attack on a pillar of our democracy,” Thompson said. “It is still hard to believe.”
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the panel’s vice chairman, said the decision reflects “our duty to offer a full picture of the effort to overturn the 2020 election and allow Trump to stay in power.”
The vote came just after the house committee previewed never-before-seen Secret Service messages, showing the way extremist groups provided the muscle in the fight for Trump’s presidency, planning weeks before the attack to send a violent force to Washington.
“Their plan is literally to kill people,” read a tip that was sent to Secret Service more than a week before the violence on Jan. 6.
The Secret Service warned in a Dec. 26, 2020, email of a tip that members of the right-wing Proud Boys planned to march in Washington on Jan. 6 with a group large enough to outnumber the police.
“It felt like the calm before the storm,” one Secret Service agent wrote in a group chat.
The House panel warned that the insurrection at the Capitol was not an isolated incident but a warning of the fragility of the nation’s democracy in the post-Trump era.
“The central cause of January 6 was one man: Donald Trump,” said Cheney, in an opening statement. “None of this would have happened without him, he was personally and substantially involved in all of it.”
The twice-impeached president responded by questioning why the panel waited so long to call for him to testify, although he did not directly say he would not comply.
“The Committee is a total ‘BUST’ that has only served to further divide our Country,” Trump said on his social media site.
The session also revealed daunting footage of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) frantically pleading with governors in neighboring Virginia and Maryland to defend the Capitol in real time on Jan. 6.
“Can you believe this?” Pelosi gasped while being recorded in a secure location. “They’re breaking the law in many different ways — quite frankly, at the instigation of the president of the United States,” Pelosi is heard saying at one point.
Later the footage shows Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and other GOP leaders as the group asks the acting attorney general for help.
The clip showed the Democratic leaders’ reaction when Vice President Mike Pence, himself trapped in a separate secure location, told them security officials believed Congress could reconvene to certify President Biden’s victory.
“Good news!” Schumer exclaimed.
This week’s hearing is to be the final presentation from lawmakers before the midterm elections. But staff members say the investigation continues.
The Jan. 6 committee has been meeting for more than a year, set up by the House after Republican senators blocked the formation of an outside panel similar to the 9/11 commission set up after the 2001 terrorist attacks. Even after the launch of its high-profile public hearings last summer, the Jan. 6 committee continued to gather evidence and interviews.