WASHINGTON (AP) — The House committee investigating the Capitol riot will not give Donald Trump the chance to turn a possible live TV appearance from his testimony to appear in a “circus” and “food fight” as lawmakers try to make sure he complies with their demands, the panel’s vice chairman said on Sunday.
The committee asks Trump’s sworn testimony next month along with documents relevant to his investigation. To avoid a complicated and protracted legal battle, Trump reportedly told associates he could consider complying with the subpoena if he could answer questions during live testimony.
When asked if the committee would consider taking his testimony live, Rep. Liz Cheney did not directly respond Sunday. She said the committee would not allow Trump’s testimony to turn into a ‘food fight’ on TV – just as has been seen, she said, in Trump’s TV appearances such as the one of her 2020 presidential debates – and she warned the committee would act. if he does not comply with the subpoena.
“We’re going to proceed with the former president’s questioning under oath,” Cheney, R-Wyo., said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “It may take several days, and it will be done with a level of rigor, discipline and seriousness that it deserves. We are not going to allow it – it is not going to turn this into a circus.
“We have many, many alternatives that we will consider if the former president decides that he will not comply with his legal obligation, a legal obligation that every American citizen must comply with a subpoena,” she said. declared.
Her office later clarified that she and the Jan. 6 committee were not ruling out the possibility of live testimony. He did not indicate what form this might take to avoid the “food fight” or “circus” that Cheney said would not happen.
The subpoena, issued on Friday, calls on Trump to turn over the documents by Nov. 4 and to testify “on or about” Nov. 14.
It’s unclear how Trump and his legal team will react. He could comply or negotiate with the committee, announce that he will defy the subpoena or ignore it altogether. He could go to court and try to arrest her.
Last week, steve bannon, a longtime Trump ally, was sentenced to four months behind bars after defying a subpoena from the same committee. He remains free pending the call. Former Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro is also awaiting trial next month on similar charges of contempt of Congress.
The subpoena includes requests for any communication referring to extremist groups coming to Washington, pressure on state lawmakers to cancel the 2020 election vote, and messages about Vice President Mike Pence, whom Trump was pushing to oppose President Joe Biden’s victory.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said Sunday she doubted Trump would show up for his deposition and that the public should know “no one is above the law.”
“I don’t think he’s man enough to show up,” Pelosi said on MSNBC. “I don’t think his lawyers would want him to come forward because he (should have) had to testify under oath. … We will see.”
There remains little legal benefit for Trump to cooperate with the committee at a time when he faces other legal battles in various jurisdictions, including over his family affair in New York and the processing of presidential files at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
It’s possible Trump’s lawyers are simply choosing to miss the subpoena time if they go to court to try to crush him, as the committee of two Republicans and seven Democrats must complete its work by the end of the day. end of the year.
Cheney, in the TV interview, made it clear that Trump had committed “multiple criminal offences” and should be prosecuted. She cited his repeated efforts, as the Jan. 6 committee pointed out, to undermine democracy by denying his electoral defeat to Biden and inciting his supporters into the violent attack on the Capitol.
“We’ve been very clear on a number of different criminal offenses that are likely at issue here,” Cheney said. “If the Department of Justice determines that they have the evidence that we think is there and they make the decision not to prosecute, I think that really calls into question whether or not we are a nation of laws. .”
Cheney, who lost in Wyoming’s August primary after becoming Trump’s fiercest GOP critic and reporting a possible 2024 presidential raceexpressed dismay at the number of Republican candidates in the Nov. 8 midterm elections who deny the legitimacy of the 2020 election. She acknowledged that the Jan. 6 committee’s investigation will be definitively completed in January if Republicans resume House control.
While saying it might take “a few election cycles,” Cheney insisted the Republican Party can find its way back as a defender of democracy and the Constitution, as she put it. She called the 2024 presidential campaign a pivotal moment.
“I think the party either needs to come back from where we are right now, which is a very dangerous and toxic place, or the party will split and there will be a new conservative party that will rise up,” she said. declared. “And if Donald Trump is the Republican Party’s nominee, the party will break up and there will be a Conservative Party that will rise in its place.”
She said Trump had shown “a willingness to use force to try to stop the peaceful transition of power. And there are just many, many millions more Americans who, despite any party affiliation, understand how dangerous it is.
On whether she could run in 2024, Cheney said, “I’m focused on what we need to do to save the country from this dangerous moment we find ourselves in…not right now if I’m going to be a candidate. or not.
For full coverage of the January 6 hearings, visit https://www.apnews.com/capitol-siege
This story has been corrected to reflect that Cheney did not rule out the possibility of live televised testimony by Trump.