In what is thought to be their final public hearing, the January 6th Select Committee voted unanimously to subpoena former President Donald Trump, live on air for the world to see.
After eight hearings throughout the summer and extensive investigation, the committee elected to take this final and drastic step before compiling and releasing their final report in December.
“There’s precedent in American history for Congress to compel the testimony of a president… We also recognize that a subpoena to a former president is a serious and extraordinary action,” said Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson. “That’s why we want to take this step in full view of the American people, especially because the subject matter at issue is so important to the American people and the stakes are so high for the future of democracy.”
Much of the hearing focused on summarizing previous evidence and reminding the American people of what the committee has uncovered so far. View more in-depth coverage of previous January 6 hearing here.
However, in late August, President Biden announced a new head of Secret Service amid scrutiny over missing documents and text messages requested by the committee. Kimberly Cheatle, Biden’s head of security during his days as vice president and the second woman charged with leading the agency, couldn’t retrieve the deleted texts but sent the committee more than 1.5 million new documents.
Representative Adam Schiff led the testimony and presented evidence in the form of emails, detailing the extent of the Secret Service’s awareness of the risk of violence.
The evidence reveals communications between the Secret Service and the FBI, as well as Capitol and Metropolitan police, suggesting they were made aware of the potential for violence on numerous occasions.
Trump’s Deputy Secretary of Defense, David Norquist, warned about the potential of the Capitol being the target of an attack during a call in early 2021..
General Mark Milley, who was on the call, had this to say about Norquist’s warning.
“So during these calls, I only remember in hindsight because he was almost clairvoyant.” Milley said. “Norquist says during one of these calls, the greatest threat is a direct assault on the Capitol. I’ll never forget it.”
Schiff went on to detail a series of emails; one stating the Proud Boys (a far-right extremist group) planned to march into Washington D.C. armed and “will outnumber police so they can’t be stopped,” and another where the source said “their plan is to literally kill people.”
Lastly, the committee released new video from Jan. 6, 2021 showing the efforts of members of Congress, deep within the bunkers of the Capitol making phone calls, both to expedite a military response and to check on each other’s well-being. Speaker Nancy Pelosi could be heard pleading to Vice President Pence, “Do not tell ANYONE your location”.
The video was meant to further drive home the point that even as the former president refused to activate the National Guard, there was a bi-partisan effort by members of Congress to protect each other.
The Select Committee is set to disband in January and plans to release their final report by late December. If these deadlines hold true, former President Trump could testify before then, however he has proven adept at avoiding and delaying legal proceedings in the past. It is also of note, that should House Democrats fail to hold their majority in the upcoming mid-term elections, the committee will be dismissed, and Trump will never testify or see consequences for January 6th.