The House committee unanimously voted to subpoena former President Donald Trump to appear for an interview under oath in front of the committee and supply documents as it finished laying out a sweeping summary of how they said he played a central role in the siege of the Capitol before, during and after the 2020 election.
“This is a question about accountability to the American people, he must be held accountable,” said committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss. “He is required to answer for his actions. He’s required to answer to those police officers who put their lives and bodies on the line to defend our democracy. He’s required to answer to those millions of Americans whose votes he wanted to throw out as part of his scheme to remain in power.”
Lawmakers presented new evidence and testimony obtained since its last hearing in July, along with behind-the-scenes footage the committee said had not been seen before.
Footage of lawmakers in both parties calling state and federal officials trying to get more law enforcement to the building was shown. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Whip John Thune were all shown on the phone talking to various officials asking for National Guard troops, military and police officers to come help an overwhelmed U.S. Capitol Police force.
“Do you believe this?” Pelosi said to lawmakers surrounding her in a secure location as rioters continued to enter the Capitol.
The panel has previously said Trump spent the hours the Capitol was under siege in the Oval Office dining room watching coverage on television while members of his staff asked him to call off rioters. Trump has claimed he was in meetings and unaware of the situation taking place at the Capitol but several witnesses and other evidence presented by the committee have disputed that account.
The panel said Trump played a central role in the events that led up to that day despite repeated entreaties from his advisers and allies.
“The vast weight of evidence presented so far has shown us that the central cause of Jan. 6 was one man, Donald Trump, who many others followed, None of this would have happened without him. He was personally and substantially involved in all of it.”
The committee has had former Republican state and federal officials, along with Trump administration secretaries and aides, appear in person or played videos of their interviews during each of the previous hearings, a point reinforced by Thompson on Thursday.
“Donald Trump attempted a plan that led to an attack on a pillar of our democracy,” Thompson said. “(It) is still hard to believe, but the facts and testimony are clear, consistent and undisputed.”