The House select committee investigating the attack on the US Capitol on 6 January of last year is not expected to seek the testimony of former president Donald Trump.
Committee chairman Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi, told reporters on Tuesday that it is “not our expectation” to ask or compel Mr Trump to testify about his attempts to overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election.
Mr Thompson said that it is not clear to committee members how much Mr Trump could or would advance the committee’s investigation if he were called to testify.
“We’re not sure that the evidence that we receive can be any more validated with his presence,” Thompson said in quotes picked up by The Guardian. “I think the concern is whether or not he would add any more value with his testimony.”
If Mr Trump were called to testify, it is expected that he would invoke the Fifth Amendment to avoid answer select questions — just as associates like lawyer John Eastman and former national security adviser Michael Flynn did when they appeared before the committee.
Compelling Mr Trump’s testimony would also be a political wildcard for the committee, whose work has advanced without a great deal of controversy in the last several months. Last week, the committee subpoenaed
The four other subpoenaed members, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Andy Biggs of Arizona, and Mo Brooks of Alabama have all been staunch Trump allies. Mr Trump endorsed Mr Brooks in his Senate race in Alabama, but then pulled his endorsement as Mr Brooks fell behind in the polls.
“Before we hold our hearings next month, we wished to provide members the opportunity to discuss these matters with the committee voluntarily,” Mr Thompson wrote in a statement on the subpoenas. “Regrettably, the individuals receiving subpoenas today have refused and we’re forced to take this step to help ensure the committee uncovers facts concerning January 6th.”
The committee is facing a looming time crunch as it works to complete its investigation as its membership — which includes Republicans Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger — will not all still be in Congress next year.
Meanwhile, the Department of Justice is conducting its own investigation into the Captiol attack and has reportedly asked the House committee for transcripts of its witness testimony. The House committee cannot pursue criminal charges, but the Justice Department can. It has already charged more than 800 people in connection with the events of January 6.