Trump doesn't say if he'll testify in front of January 6 panel

Reports say former president is considering speaking with committee members under oath

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Former president Donald Trump — who is now officially facing questions over his role in the January 6 insurrection — isn't saying whether or not he will willingly testify before the House select committee.

The bipartisan committee unanimously voted on Thursday to subpoena Mr Trump at its ninth public hearing, an unprecedented move that may be largely symbolic.

Mr Trump sent a 14-page letter to the panel's chairman, Representative Bennie Thompson, that featured several falsehoods about the 2020 presidential election, when he lost to Joe Biden.

"The Unselect Committee has perpetuated a Show Trial the likes of which this Country has never seen before," he wrote. "It is a Witch Hunt of the highest level, a continuation of what has been going on for years."

The former president's communications did not disclose whether he would agree to testifying in front of the House committee.

However, the New York Times, Guardian and Fox News reported on Friday that Mr Trump is privately considering speaking with the legislators, citing anonymous individuals close to him.

Mr Trump's letter to Mr Thompson can be interpreted as a pre-emptive strike, and not a required response, since the January 6 panel had not sent a formal subpoena as of Friday afternoon.

Mr Trump could still defy the subpoena, and doing so could yield charges of contempt.

Mr Trump's former presidential advisor Steve Bannon is set to face sentencing for contempt after he defied the panel's subpoena.

Should the former president to ignore a summons to appear, charging Mr Trump requires the approval of the House of Representatives for a criminal referral to the Justice Department, which may not take up the referral. The department has yet to charge Mr Trump's former chief of staff Mark Meadows, for example.

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Updated: October 14, 2022, 7:53 PM
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