On January 6 a committee voted to call former President Trump to testify. Thursday, every member of the House committee looking into the attack on the Capitol on January 6 voted to call former President Donald Trump to testify.
Members of the panel, which met Thursday for what was supposed to be the last time before the midterm elections, had said before that they were still thinking about asking to talk to Trump or former Vice President Mike Pence. Sources who know what the committee is going to do told NBC News about the subpoena Thursday morning.
Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., who is in charge of the panel, said that the committee had a “duty” to hear from Trump.
“This is a question about who is responsible to the people of the United States. He must answer for what he did. He needs to answer for what he did. He has to answer to the police officers who risk their lives and bodies to keep our democracy working. He has to answer to the millions of Americans whose votes he tried to throw away as part of his plan to stay in power, Thompson said, calling the move “serious and unusual.”
The vote to call Trump to testify was unanimous, with 9 votes in favor and 0 votes against.
The resolution was put forward by Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, who is the vice chair of the panel. She called Trump the “central player” in the riot.
A person who knows about the committee’s plans told NBC News that the subpoena will be sent out in the next few days.
The panel is in a hurry because the subpoena will run out at the end of this Congress, and Trump is likely to fight it.
The subpoena comes more than a year after the committee started looking into the uprising and after several members of Congress said it was unlikely that Trump would follow the rules.
Still, the idea of calling the former president to testify has been on the table for a while, and committee members have talked a lot about it. Thompson told reporters on his way to the hearing Thursday that the panel had not yet ruled out calling Trump to testify.
Thompson said at the start of Thursday’s hearing that the panel was meeting as a formal committee business meeting so that, in addition to hearing evidence, “we could possibly hold a committee vote on further investigative action based on that evidence.”
The panel has already talked to and questioned more than 1,000 people as part of its wide-ranging investigation. It has also gotten hundreds of thousands of documents, and it is known that about 100 subpoenas have been sent out.
Cheney said in her opening statement that Trump was again at the center of plans to overturn the election, which led to the violence on January 6.
“Without him, none of this would have happened. He was involved personally and in a big way in all of it, “she told me. “Today, we will talk about how President Trump thought, what he wanted, what drove him, and how he got other people to do what he wanted. And how another January 6 could happen if we don’t do what we need to do to stop it.”
Cheney also said that the committee “may decide in the end to send a number of criminal cases to the Department of Justice,” but that lawmakers “know that it’s not our job to decide who should be prosecuted.”
Trump wouldn’t be the first former president that Congress called to testify. Several sitting and former presidents and vice presidents, such as Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, and Gerald R. Ford, have also testified in front of congressional committees.
It’s not clear if the committee will want to talk to Pence, who stopped Trump from overturning the 2020 election on January 6 and was threatened with hanging on that day.
Pence said at an event in New Hampshire in August that he might testify before the House Jan. 6 committee if asked, but he hinted that he would need to figure out some constitutional questions first.
“If we were ever given a formal invitation, we would take it into account,” he said.
Thompson had said before that the committee’s last meeting would be on Thursday, but recently, a few of its members have said that might not be the case.
Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., was asked on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” if there would be more hearings. She said that the investigation “has its own life” and that new information keeps coming out.