As the January 6th Committee investigating the insurrection at the Capitol winds to a close, they took a step to complete the record of evidence by issuing a subpoena for the last, and most conspicuously guilty, witness that has yet to testify. That, of course, is Donald Trump, who incited the deadly riots and for three hours did nothing to stop them.
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On Friday morning Trump posted his interminably drawn out fourteen page response (pdf) to the Committee’s subpoena in a long and utterly substanceless screed that was signed by him alone (i.e. no attorneys). It was essentially a ponderous elaboration on his knee-jerk hissy fit on Thursday.
RELATED: Trump Lashes Out Impotently After January 6th Committee Votes to Subpoena Him
The protracted version of Trump’s psychosis was predictably incoherent and devoid of any relevant facts. It just another obvious deflection from the subject of the hearings and as tedious rehashing of his baseless reasons to assume that voter fraud took place. The tirade began with Trump wallowing in his victimhood and lashing out at his perceived persecutors:
“The same group of Radical Left Democrats who utilized their Majority position in Congress to create the fiction of Russia, Russia, Russia, Impeachment Hoax #1, Impeachment Hoax #2, the $48 Million Mueller Report (which ended in No Collusion!), Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine, the atrocious and illegal Spying on my Campaign, and so much more, are the people who created this Committee of highly partisan political Hacks and Thugs whose sole function is to destroy the lives of many hard-working American Patriots, whose records in life have been unblemished until this point of attempted ruination.”
It’s nice of Trump to itemize all of the illegal and unethical activities he has engaged in over the years. Never mind his perpetually hollow denials of any culpability. He went on to whine that…
“This memo is being written to express our anger, disappointment, and complaint that with all of the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on what many consider to be a Charade and Witch Hunt, and despite strong and powerful requests, you have not spent even a short moment on examining the massive Election Fraud that took place during the 2020 Presidential Election, and have targeted only those who were, as concerned American Citizens, protesting the Fraud itself. Those who committed the Fraud, thereby having created the Crime of the Century, go unblemished and untouched, but those who fought the Crime have suffered a fate that was unthinkable just a short time ago. We have a two-tier system of Justice in the United States that cannot be allowed to continue.”
Here Trump is appalled that the Committee is responsibly adhering to the topics that it was established to investigate. He is dismayed that they aren’t veering off into the fantasy world of imagined offenses against Trump. He is outraged that the Committee isn’t humoring him about election fraud that didn’t take place, and for which he and his minions have failed to provide evidence for nearly two years. And he is projecting his own fears unto his cult followers, attempting to make them believe that they are victims.
The ridiculous document goes on to complain that he got “millions more votes in 2020 than I did in 2016.” Someone needs to tell Trump that the objective in an election is to get more votes than your opponent, not more than yourself four years earlier. Similarly irrelevant is his observation that “almost the entire Republican Party feel that the Election was Rigged and Stolen.” That’s merely more evidence that the GOP is pitifully delusional and indoctrinated into the Cult of Trump.
Trump repeats his totally false assertion that he “recommended and authorized thousands of troops to be deployed to ensure that there was peace, safety, and security at the Capitol.” No, actually, he didn’t. But it’s interesting to note that this lie suggests he thought that the Capitol needed protection from his own supporters. PolitiFact’s detailed analysis documented that there is no record of Trump authorizing troops, no evidence that Pelosi denied such an authorization, and that she doesn’t have the authority to do so in the first place.
Trump also lied that the Committee hearings had “very poor television ratings.” To the contrary, the hearings from the very start broke viewing records. With over 18 million viewers, they had a larger audience that the Game two of the NBA Finals.
RELATED: January 6th Hearing Ratings are Burning Up Trump and His Right-Wing Media Liars
In closing, Trump said something that was actually true. He noted that “The people of this Country will not stand for unequal justice under the law.” Indeed, the majority of Americans want to see Trump indicted and prosecuted. And finally, nine of the fourteen pages of his response were devoted to an appendix that was entirely composed of flagrantly false allegations of election fraud – all of which were debunked many times, long ago – and nonsense such as references to Hunter Biden’s laptop.
The Committee’s chairman, Bennie Thompson, summed up the hearings saying that…
“[Trump] tried to take away the voice of the American people in choosing their president and replace the will of the voters with his will to remain in power. […] He is required to answer for his actions. He is required to answer to those police officers who put their lives and bodies on the line to defend our democracy. He is required to answer to those millions of Americans who’s votes he wanted to throw out as part of his scheme to remain in power.”
As for Trump, his lengthy reply failed to state whether he would comply with the subpoena. If the past is any indication, he will try to delay any testimony by challenging the subpoena in court. Failing that, he will try to run out the clock and hope that Republicans gain control of the House and disband the Committee. But even if he were to appear, he would almost certainly refuse to answer questions by pleading the 5th Amendment, as he did more than 400 times when deposed by the New York Attorney General.
According to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, Trump told aides “that he’s not opposed to the idea of testifying before the committee, as long as it’s on his terms.” By which he specified that the testimony be aired live. That’s been done with many other witnesses, so the Committee would surely agree to it for Trump. And since it would likely result in Trump embarrassing and/or incriminating himself even further, all that would be missing is the popcorn.
RELATED: After Goofy Lawsuit Against CNN, Trump Threatens More Suits, Including the January 6th Committee
UPDATE: The “author” (perhaps just poster) of Trump’s response is listed as Natalie Harp. She’s a former host on OAN who left the network earlier this year to work for Trump.
Noting the metadata for Trump's response to being subpoenaed (time zone is mine).
Natalie Harp? pic.twitter.com/VrrRF9URXu
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) October 14, 2022
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