January 6 panel drops Donald Trump subpoena

US House committee investigating pro-Trump insurrection made the decision as it prepares to dissolve

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The US House of Representatives committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection dropped a subpoena for former president Donald Trump as it wraps up its work and prepares to dissolve next week.

“As you may know, the select committee has concluded its hearings, released its final report and will very soon reach its end,” chairman Bennie Thompson wrote.

“In light of the imminent end of our investigation, the select committee can no longer pursue the specific information covered by the subpoena.”

The committee had voted to subpoena Mr Trump during its final televised hearing before the midterm elections in October, demanding evidence and documents from the former president as it investigated his role in the 2021 Capitol insurrection and efforts to overturn his 2020 defeat.

Members of the panel have acknowledged the subpoena would be difficult to enforce, especially as Republicans are poised to take over the House in January.

Still, the move had political and symbolic value.

“We are obligated to seek answers directly from the man who set this all in motion,” Liz Cheney, the panel’s vice chairwoman and one of two Republicans on the nine-member committee, said at the time.

“And every American is entitled to those answers.”

Mr Trump sued the panel in November to avoid co-operating, with the lawsuit contending that while former presidents have voluntarily agreed to provide evidence or documents in response to congressional subpoenas in the past, “no president or former president has ever been compelled to do so”.

In its final report issued last week, the committee concluded that Mr Trump engaged in a “multipart conspiracy” to upend the 2020 election and failed to act on the violence.

It also recommended that the Justice Department investigate the former president for four separate crimes, including aiding an insurrection.

On social media on Wednesday evening, Mr Trump and his lawyers chose to spin the move as a victory.

“They probably did so because they knew I did nothing wrong, or they were about to lose in court,” Mr Trump wrote on Truth Social. He called the panel members “political thugs”.

On Twitter, Trump lawyer Harmeet Dhillon said the panel had “waved the white flag”.

Updated: December 29, 2022, 5:17 PM