Donald Trump has been issued with a subpoena to testify at the inquiry into last year’s riot at the US Capitol.
The committee overseeing the probe into the deadly attack in Washington DC has asked the former president for testimony and records, saying he “orchestrated” a plot to overturn the 2020 election.
“We recognise that a subpoena to a former president is a significant and historic action,” chairman Bennie Thompson and vice chair Liz Cheney wrote in the letter to Mr Trump.
“We do not take this action lightly,” they added.
Lawmakers say the former president was the “central cause” of a coordinated, multi-part effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
The nine-member panel has issued a letter to Mr Trump’s lawyers, demanding his testimony under oath by 14 November.
The letter also requested a series of corresponding documents, including personal communications between the former president and members of Congress as well as extremist groups.
It is unclear how Mr Trump and his legal team will respond to the subpoena.
It comes as Steve Bannon, a former White House advisor, was sentenced to four months in prison for failing to appear before the committee.
He had been convicted of defying a subpoena and also handed a $6,500 fine.
Trump ‘at the centre of a bloody attack’ on the Capitol
The letter doesn’t shy away from placing allegations directly at the feet of Mr Trump.
Chairman Thompson and Vice Chair Cheney wrote the committee has assembled “overwhelming evidence” that Mr Trump “personally orchestrated and oversaw a multi-part effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election and to obstruct the peaceful transition of power”.
It underscored that the former president sought to overturn the election with baseless claims of voter fraud.
The letter continued: “You took all of these actions despite the rulings of more than 60 courts rejecting your election fraud claims and other challenges to the legality of the 2020 presidential election, despite having specific and detailed information from the Justice Department and your senior campaign staff informing you that your election claims were false, and despite your obligation as President to ensure that the laws of our nation are faithfully executed.
“In short, you were at the center of the first and only effort by any US President to overturn an election and obstruct the peaceful transition of power, ultimately culminating in a bloody attack on our own Capitol and on the Congress itself.”
‘An ex-President is merely a citizen like any other’
Chairman Thompson and Vice Chair Cheney also made clear that the subpoena to Mr. Trump was not an unprecedented action, and that there is an established history of presidents providing evidence to Congress.
The letter also cited President Roosevelt who once said, “An ex-President is merely a citizen of the United States, like any other citizen,” in a bid to remind Mr Trump of his obligation to appear before the committee.
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