The House select committee investigating the January 6 riots voted unanimously Thursday to subpoena former President Donald Trump.
“It is our obligation to seek Donald Trump’s testimony,” the panel’s chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), said before the vote, according to Politico. “There’s precedent in American history for Congress to compel the testimony of a president.”
Committee vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY.) described securing the testimony of “Jan. 6’s central player” as “a key task” that remains unfinished.
Before taking the remarkable public step to subpoena Trump, the Jan. 6 committee revealed on Thursday that Trump sent military leaders into a panic by secretly ordering all US troops withdrawn from Afghanistan and Somalia days after losing reelection.
The select panel showed testimony from Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, describing Trump’s withdrawal move as “potentially dangerous” but said Trump suggested leaving the problem to “the next guy.” While the order was never implemented, Trump’s intent was to complete the withdrawal before Inauguration Day — and panel member Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) argued that it was evidence that he knew “his term would shortly end.”
It remains unclear whether Trump, who has routinely denounced the work of the committee, would comply with the subpoena.
The January 6 committee has already held several hearings. Members of the panel have accused Trump of inciting a mob of followers to attack the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in a last-ditch bid to remain in power.
In recent months the committee has interviewed a number of former Trump administration Cabinet officials, including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as well as Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Trump recently threatened legal action against the Jan. 6 committee.
“The Unselect Committee has refused to acknowledge, as was done by the Biden Inspector General at the Department of Defense, and others, that days ahead of January 6th, I recommended and authorized thousands of troops to be deployed to ensure that there was peace, safety, and security at the Capitol and throughout the Country,” he said.