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Friday, March 24, 2023

US Capitol Riot Probe Votes To Subpoena Trump To Testify

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Lawmakers probing the 2021 attack on the US Capitol voted Thursday to subpoena former president Donald Trump to testify on his involvement in the violence, in a major escalation of its sprawling inquiry weeks before it is due to wind up.

In what was expected to be its final hearing before the midterm elections, the House panel of seven Democrats and two Republicans agreed unanimously to compel Trump’s appearance before investigators.

“We need to be fair and thorough and gain a full context for the evidence we’ve obtained. But the need for this committee to hear from Donald Trump goes beyond our fact-finding,” said Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the committee.

“This is a question about accountability to the American people. He must be accountable. He is required to answer for his actions.”

Subpoenas from the panel have proved difficult to enforce, with former White House aide Steve Bannon the only target convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to comply.

Trump is notorious for his ability to run down the clock on congressional investigations and legal action, and it remains highly unlikely that he would agree to give evidence.

Any subpoena would expire in any case with the new congressional term in January. The House of Representatives is expected to be flipped in November elections to the Republicans, who plan immediately to end the investigation.

But the move marks an aggressive escalation of the probe, which has issued more than 100 subpoenas and interviewed more than 1,000 people since its inception in 2021.

While no sitting president has ever been forced to testify before Congress, lawmakers have summoned former presidents to discuss their conduct in office.

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