Updated Oct 13, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Jan. 6 committee unanimously votes to subpoena Trump

Jan. 6 committee shows footage of Donald Trump

Jan. 6 committee hearing. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Members of the Jan. 6 select committee unanimously voted on Thursday to issue a subpoena to former President Trump.

Why it matters: The 9-0 vote came during Thursday's televised meeting aimed at making the case that Trump was the central antagonist in the attack and in preceding efforts to overturn the election.

Between the lines: Trump has been the central figure of the committee’s investigation, which has focused on proving his culpability for what happened on Jan. 6.

  • A key question the panel has grappled with for months has been whether to compel testimony from Trump himself. However, a subpoena this late in their investigation — when the committee is expected to sunset at the end of the year — is largely symbolic.
  • It is unlikely that it would result in Trump's actual testimony. Instead, the committee is setting down a marker to show it sought to hear from Trump himself — with the knowledge that doing so will force a response from his team.

While the former president did not say whether he'd appear before the committee, he did fire off a series of responses to the meeting on his Truth Social app.

  • “Why didn’t the Unselect Committee ask me to testify months ago? Why did they wait until the very end, the final moments of their last meeting?” Trump wrote Thursday afternoon.

What they're saying: "He is the one person at the center of the story of what happened on Jan. 6. So we want to hear from him," said Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.).

  • In his opening statement, Thompson said the committee was technically convening as a "formal committee business meeting."
  • "In addition to presenting evidence, we can potentially hold a committee vote on further investigative action based upon that evidence," he said.
  • Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) also reminded viewers at the top of the hearing that the committee “may ultimately decide” to make criminal referrals to the Justice Department, adding that the panel’s role isn’t to prosecute but to recommend “reforms.”

The backdrop: During public hearings over the summer, as the panel weighed whether to seek testimony from Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence, Thompson told reporters, “They both have, I would think, significant knowledge of what [went] on.”

  • On July 19, Thompson said, “Donald Trump is just like every other American citizen in this situation. And if [he has some information] that the public can benefit from him as a witness … then we’ll make every attempt to bring him in."

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Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details throughout.

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