Monday, 28 Nov 2022

Could Trump testify? Subpoena sets up prospect of dramatic political spectacle

Could Trump testify? Subpoena sets up prospect of dramatic political spectacle


Could Trump testify? Subpoena sets up prospect of dramatic political spectacle

The former US president may decide to ignore the subpoena and decide not to cooperate with the inquiry, or alternatively, believing that he is his own best spokesman and can answer for his actions to anyone, may agree to a dramatic deposition.

The driving factor pushing Trump to want to testify has centered around a reflexive belief that he can convince investigators that their own inquiry is a supposed witch-hunt and convince them that he committed no crimes over January 6, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Trump also ultimately took the advice of his lawyers during the special counsel investigation into ties between his 2016 campaign and Russia, submitting only written responses to investigators despite initially telling advisers he wanted to testify in person to clear his name.

The issue for Trump with the select committee remains whether the panel would accept a demand to testify live. The select committee has rejected testimony with conditions for virtually all witnesses, with the exception of former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson.

If Trump does make his appearance contingent on conditions that the select committee cannot countenance, it is not clear what options are available to compel his testimony given his position as a former president.

The chairman of the select committee, congressman Bennie Thompson, said in advance of the vote to issue Trump a subpoena that chief among the reasons the panel sought his testimony was because his singular role in driving events towards January 6 necessitated full accountability.

The select committee could alternatively refer the former president to the justice department for contempt of Congress as it did with former aides Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro, but the justice department would probably decline to prosecute on the immunity standard, the experts said.

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