(WASHINGTON) — The House Jan. 6 committee said Monday it was evaluating all of its options after former President Donald Trump sued to block a subpoena from the panel for documents and testimony.
“Former President Trump has failed to comply with the Select Committee’s subpoena requiring him to appear for a deposition today,” the committee chair, Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, and Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice chair, said in a statement.
“Even though the former President initially suggested that he would testify before the committee, he has since filed a lawsuit asking the courts to protect him from giving testimony,” Thompson and Cheney said.
They said that Trump’s “attorneys have made no attempt to negotiate an appearance of any sort, and his lawsuit parades out many of the same arguments that courts have rejected repeatedly over the last year. The truth is that Donald Trump, like several of his closest allies, is hiding from the Select Committee’s investigation and refusing to do what more than a thousand other witnesses have done.”
Trump’s attorneys have described a different situation.
In their lawsuit, his lawyers argued that he retained immunity as a former president and that while other presidents and former presidents have voluntarily agreed to testify before Congress, his legal team claimed that no president has been compelled to do so.
They described the committee subpoena as “invalid” because they said it did not further a legislative purpose and claimed it was overly broad and infringed on his First Amendment rights.
Thompson told reporters Monday night that Trump’s lawsuit “kinda puts everything on hold right now” and said the committee will “take a position at some point.”
Thompson didn’t rule out a vote to hold Trump in contempt but said the panel first needed to determine how it plans to respond to the lawsuit.
“I’m saying the first thing we do is see how we address the lawsuit and at some point after that, we’ll address the path forward,” he said.
Committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., told ABC News that “our three general avenues for potential response are referral for criminal contempt, an effort to get a court to compel participation through a civil contempt proceeding and then exercising inherent powers of contempt of Congress, which we haven’t done yet.”
“Beyond that, we can use the general social-shaming mechanisms of American political culture to raise the point that everybody should be complying with the law, including former presidents of the United States,” Raskin said.
The Jan. 6 committee had extended the deadline for Trump to comply with their documents request by one week. The initial deadline was Nov. 4.
The committee also asked Trump to appear for a deposition on Monday.
As ABC News previously reported, this move was expected by Trump’s team to attempt to run out the clock on the subpoena before Republicans potentially retook the House following the 2022 midterm elections.
With some midterm results still outstanding, ABC News estimates that the GOP could gain the majority in the chamber in January, though control has not been projected.
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