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Jan 6 committee accuses Trump of ‘hiding’ as he blows deadline for deposition

The January 6 select committee subpoena had set a 14 November deadline for Mr Trump to give evidence in a deposition

Andrew Feinberg
Washington, DC
Tuesday 15 November 2022 00:14 GMT
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Former president Donald Trump has failed to honour a House January 6 committee subpoena compelling him to give evidence in a deposition by 10am ET on 14 November.

The select committee had issued a subpoena to the ex-president on 22 October commanding him to produce documents by 4 November and appear to give evidence 10 days later. The deadline for document production was later extended at the request of Mr Trump’s attorneys, but Mr Trump has since filed a lawsuit against the committee seeking to block enforcement of the subpoena.

An attorney for Mr Trump, David Warrington, did not immediately respond to a query on whether Mr Trump intended to honour the subpoena, but a “source close to” the ex-president told Fox News he did not sit for a deposition of any kind.

In a statement, select committee chair Bennie Thompson and vice-chair Liz Cheney said Mr Trump had “failed to comply with the Select Committee’s subpoena requiring him to appear for a deposition” on 14 November.

“Even though the former President initially suggested that he would testify before the committee, he has since filed a lawsuit asking the courts to protect him from giving testimony. His attorneys have made no attempt to negotiate an appearance of any sort, and his lawsuit parades out many of the same arguments that courts have rejected repeatedly over the last year,” they said, adding that Mr Trump “is hiding from the Select Committee’s investigation and refusing to do what more than a thousand other witnesses have done”.

Continuing, Mr Thompson and Ms Cheney noted that Mr Trump remains “obligated to provide answers to the American people” and said the nine-member panel would “evaluate next steps in the litigation and regarding the former President’s noncompliance”.

In court papers, Mr Trump’s lawyers argued that he, as an ex-president, still retains immunity from any compulsory process on matters pertaining to his conduct in the office he held from 2017 to 2021.

“While other Presidents and former presidents have voluntarily agreed to testify or turn over documents in response to a congressional subpoena, no President or former President has ever been compelled to do so,” his attorneys wrote.

“To the contrary, for a half-century the Department of Justice has consistently opined that Presidents and former Presidents have absolute immunity from compelled Congressional testimony”.

It’s unclear whether the select committee will take any action to compel Mr Trump to appear, as the panel’s mandate expires when the 117th Congress adjourns sine die in January. Should Republicans take control of the House of Representatives, they are not likely to reauthorise the investigation into the attack on the Capitol.

The panel could still choose to advance a resolution holding Mr Trump in contempt of Congress, which could, in theory, lead to him facing criminal charges. But although the Department of Justice has sought indictments of two of the ex-president’s former aides — Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro — for willfully defying the committee’s subpoenas, prosecutors are not likely to seek such an indictment against an ex-president under these circumstances.

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