Former President Donald Trump on Friday filed a lawsuit against the House January 6th Committee and its members in the latest bid to avoid a subpoena by the congressional body to compel him to testify. The news comes ahead of a planned Tuesday event in which Trump is widely expected to announce he is running for president in 2024.
The committee had voted unanimously to subpoena Trump on October 13, with committee chairman Rep, Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and vice chair Liz Cheney (W-WY) writing: “As demonstrated in our hearings, we have assembled overwhelming evidence, including from dozens of your former appointees and staff, that you personally orchestrated and oversaw a multipart effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election and to obstruct the peaceful transition of power.”
It was unclear at the time whether Trump would fight the order, in which he was asked to testify and turn over documents relating to his possible role in the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. He has been telling his former staffers and political allies to also refuse to testify throughout the committee’s hearings.
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One of those, former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, was sentenced to four months in prison for ignoring subpoenas from the committee.
Trump himself did respond to his subpoena after it was handed down in a televised hearing, addressing a 14-page letter to the committee that began: “THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION OF 2020 WAS RIGGED AND STOLEN!”
In today’s lawsuit (read it here) filed in the Southern District of Florida, Trump and his legal team seek declaratory and injunctive relief, writing that “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.”
It adds, “As a result of the Committee’s self-described “unprecedented” action, President Trump has been put in the untenable position of choosing between preserving his rights and the constitutional prerogatives of the Executive Branch, or risking enforcement of the Subpoena issued to him. Accordingly, Former President Trump turns to the courts to preserve his rights and Executive Branch independence consistently upheld by the courts and endorsed by the Department of Justice.”
No timetable had been set for Trump to testify, though the committee had previously said it was eyeing sometime around Monday, November 14 — the day before Trump’s potential announcement that he is seeking office.
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