Jan 6: US Capitol Riot committee votes to order Donald Trump to testify

With time running out to get to the bottom of Donald Trump's role in the violence, the committee investigating the assault on the Capitol have summoned the former President to answer their questions. ITV News US Correspondent Robert Moore reports

A panel of US lawmakers has voted to subpoena Donald Trump, meaning he would be legally compelled to testify to Congress about the 2021 Capitol attack.

The House January 6 committee voted unanimously to compel the former president to appear.

“We must seek the testimony under oath of January 6th’s central player,” said Representative Liz Cheney, the committee’s vice chair.

Ms Cheney added: “We are obligated to seek answers directly from the man who set this all in motion. And every American is entitled to those answers.”

In a statement Trump hit out at the decision, saying: "Why didn't the Unselect Committee ask me to testify months ago?

"Why did they wait until the very end, the final moments of their last meeting?

"Because the Committee is a total 'BUST' that has only served to further divide our country, which, by the way, is doing very badly - A laughing stock all over the world?"

Trump is expected to fight the subpoena and decline the order to testify. But if he chooses not to before any potential overruling then he could be arrested by US authorities.

The vote seeking the former president's testimony came as the panel produced vivid new details and evidence of Trump’s state of mind, as he refused to concede his loss to Joe Biden, resulting in the 2021 attack at the Capitol.

Before that, the panel showed previously unseen footage of congressional leaders phoning officials for help during the assault.

'Why don't you get the president to tell them to leave the Capitol?'

Within the footage House speaker Nancy Pelosi and senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer can be seen talking to governors in neighbouring Virginia and Maryland.

Later, senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and other GOP leaders can be seen as the group asks the acting attorney general for help.

“They’re breaking the law in many different ways - quite frankly at the instigation of the president of the United States,” Ms Pelosi is heard saying at one point.

Also, in never-before-seen Secret Service messages, the panel produced evidence of the way extremist groups provided the muscle in the fight for Mr Trump’s presidency, planning weeks before the attack to send a violent force to Washington.

The Secret Service warned in a email - dating to December 26, 2020 - of a tip that members of the right-wing Proud Boys planned to outnumber the police, in a march in Washington on January 6, 2021.

"It felt like the calm before the storm,” one Secret Service agent wrote in a group chat.

The House panel warned that the insurrection at the Capitol was not an isolated incident, but a warning of the fragility of the nation’s democracy in the post-Trump era.

“None of this is normal or acceptable or lawful in a republic,” Cheney declared.

“There is no defense that Donald Trump was duped or irrational. No president can defy the rule of law and act this way in a constitutional republic, period.”

To illustrate what it said were “purposeful lies,” the committee juxtaposed repeated instances in which top administration officials recounted telling Trump the actual facts with clips of him repeating the exact opposite at his pre-riot rally at the Ellipse on January 6.

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