Being subpoenaed by the commission on January 6 wasn’t even the worst thing about Trump’s day

Being subpoenaed by the commission on January 6 wasn't even the worst thing about Trump's day

() — This Thursday, October 13, was a very bad day for former President Donald Trump.

The January 6 House committee voted to subpoena Trump after exposing his depraved efforts to topple the 2020 election and his dereliction of duty when his violent supporters stormed the US Capitol.

But that was not the worst for the former president.

The commission’s dramatic, though probably futile, effort to get Trump to testify was a moment of triumph to cap his last hearing before the midterm elections. The subpoena came with a warning that Trump owes the nation an explanation for a day of infamy in January 2021.

The hearing featured never-before-seen footage of congressional leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, huddled in safety during the insurgency dealing with the implications of the attack by pro-Trump supporters on Capitol Hill. The commission also presented almost regrettable accounts of the former president’s desperate attempts to avoid publicly admitting that he was a loser in 2020 and argued that her full understanding of his defeat made his subsequent actions even more egregious.

While sheltering in Fort McNair, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (left), Sen. Chuck Grassley (center) and then-Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer speak on the phone with Vice President Mike Pence on January 6, 2021. (Courtesy Alexandra Pelosi/HBO)

But the events that could hurt Trump the most occurred offstage. They reflect the extraordinary legal tangle that surrounds the former president, who has not been charged with any crime, and the distance that still remains to be traveled to account for his tumultuous departure from power and a presidency that constantly put the rule of law to the test.

While Trump has frequently braved investigative storms and has repeatedly confounded predictions of his imminent demise since launching his presidential campaign in 2015, there is a sense that he is slipping into a deeper and deeper legal hole.

They reveal unpublished video of congressional leaders during the attack on the Capitol 7:04

Supreme Court dashes Trump’s hopes in Mar-a-Lago case

As the House select committee hearing progressed, the Supreme Court sent a message from across the street that it has no interest in getting caught up in Trump’s attempt to derail a Justice Department investigation into material. classified that he kept in Mar-a-Lago.

The court rejected his request for emergency intervention, which could have delayed the case, without explaining why. No discrepancies were noted, not even from conservative justices Trump has elevated to the bench and whom he often seems to believe owe him a debt of loyalty.

Documents recovered from Trump's residence

For all the political drama surrounding the continuing revelations about one of the darkest days in modern American history on January 6, 2021, it is the showdown over classified documents that appears to pose the clearest and most immediate threat from the former US president. a true criminal exposure.

As TV channels aired general coverage of the commission hearing, more news emerged hinting at more serious legal problems the former president could face from another Justice Department investigation, also on Jan. 6. Unlike the version of the House, the criminal investigation of the Department of Justice has the power to formulate indictments.

Marc Short, former chief of staff to then Vice President Mike Pence, was seen leaving a courthouse in Washington. Short had been forced to testify before a grand jury for the second time, according to a person familiar with the matter, ‘s Pamela Brown reported. Another Trump adviser, former national security adviser Kash Patel, was also seen walking to an area where the grand jury is meeting. Patel did not tell reporters what he was doing.

Court refuses to intervene in Trump case and seized documents 1:06

New danger for Trump due to classified documents

It often happens that Trump’s legal threats do not come one by one, but accumulate at the same time.

‘s Pamela Brown reported Wednesday night that a Trump employee had told the FBI that the former president had ordered him to remove boxes from a storage room in the basement of his Florida club after Trump’s legal team received a subpoena for any classified document. The FBI also has surveillance footage showing a staff member moving the boxes.

At first glance, this development is concerning as it could suggest a pattern of deception that plays into a possible obstruction of justice charge. In the initial search warrant before the FBI showed up at Trump’s home in August, the bureau told a judge there could be “evidence of obstruction” at the complex.

Still, David Schoen, who served as Trump’s defense attorney in his second impeachment trial, told ‘s “New Day” that while the details of what happened at Mar-a-Lago raised troubling questions, they don’t necessarily amount to a case of obstruction of justice.

But he added: “If President Trump or someone acting on his behalf knew … that they had no right to have these documents in their possession, the documents belonged to the government or the American people, etc., and they knowingly disobeyed the subpoena, they knowingly concealed the documents or prevented the documents from being found, then that could theoretically constitute obstruction.”

Trump’s day of deepening legal anxiety had started with a jolt.

Thursday morning, New York Attorney General Letitia James petitioned a state court to stop the Trump Organization from moving assets and continuing to perpetrate what she has alleged in a civil lawsuit to be a decades-long fraud.

“There is every reason to believe that the defendants will continue to engage in similar fraudulent conduct until trial, unless verified by an order of this Court,” James wrote in a request for a preliminary injunction related to his $250 claim. million against Trump, his three eldest children and his firm.

Trump called the James investigation a stunt and denied any wrongdoing. The Justice Department has not charged the former president or anyone else in its investigation into the Capitol uprising. The House select committee cannot file criminal charges, though it is discussing whether to send criminal referrals to the Justice Department. Trump also criticized the DOJ’s investigation into classified documents uncovered during the FBI’s search of his Mar-a-Lago residence as a witch hunt and political persecution.

Those aren’t even the only Trump-related investigations. There is also the question of another investigation in Georgia into attempts by the former president and his allies to nullify elections in a crucial 2020 swing state.

Recent legal setbacks for Donald Trump 4:14

trump responds

As always, Trump came out fighting this Thursday, one of those days when the severity of a crisis he faces can often be gauged by the vehemence of the rhetoric he uses to respond.

First, Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich mocked the 9-0 unanimous vote in the select committee to subpoena the former president for documents and testimony.

“(President) Trump will not be intimidated by your meritless rhetoric or anti-American actions. Trump-endorsed candidates will sweep the midterms and America First leadership and solutions will be restored,” Budowich wrote on Twitter.

The former president then intervened on his Truth Social network with another post that did not respond to the accusations against him, but was clearly designed to provoke a political backlash from his supporters.

“Why didn’t the Deselection Commission ask me to testify months ago? Why did they wait until the very end, the final moments of their last meeting? Because the commission is a total ‘FAIL’,” Trump wrote.

The former president is right to ask why the panel waited so long to call him. But her obstruction of the investigation and attempts to prevent former aides from testifying mean he is in a sticky position criticizing his conduct. And it’s not unusual for investigators to build a case before approaching the most prominent potential target of an investigation.

Given the former president’s history of obstructing efforts to scrutinize his tumultuous presidency, it would be a surprise if he doesn’t fight the subpoena, though there might be a part of him that would enjoy prime time in a live audience.

Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi, warned that the former chairman had an obligation to explain himself.

“The need for this commission to listen to Donald Trump goes beyond our investigation. This is a question about accountability to the American people. He must be responsible. He is held accountable for his actions,” Thompson said.

The subpoena could also give the bipartisan commission some cover from pro-Trump Republicans who say it is a politicized attempt to impeach Trump that has not allowed cross-examination of witnesses. If he wanted to enforce a subpoena, the committee would have to seek a contempt of Congress referral from the full House Justice Department. He took such a step with Trump political guru Steve Bannon, who was found guilty on two counts of contempt of Congress and faces a sentencing hearing soon.

But any effort to follow a similar path if Trump refuses to testify could take months and involve protracted legal battles. It’s unclear whether the Justice Department would see this as a good investment, especially given the advanced status of its own Jan. 6 investigation. And there’s a good chance the commission will go down in history anyway, with Republicans favored to take over the House majority after the midterm elections.

Given the slim chance that Trump will comply with a congressional subpoena at that point, many observers will see the dramatic vote to target the former president as another theatrical flourish in a series of slickly produced hearings that often resembled a television drama.

But the committee’s Republican vice chair, Rep. Liz Cheney, said the investigation was no longer just about what happened on Jan. 6, it was about the future.

“With every effort to excuse or justify the conduct of the former president, we undermine the foundation of our Republic,” said the Wyoming lawmaker, who will not return to Congress after losing her primary this summer to the Trump-backed challenger.

“Indefensible conduct is defended, inexcusable conduct is excused. Without accountability, everything becomes normal and will repeat itself.”

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Written by Editor TLN

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