Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the select committee established to investigate the Capitol riot, has threatened to call former President Donald Trump to testify, saying that they “have the subpoena authority.”
In an interview with the Guardian published Wednesday, July 21, Thompson said that he would investigate Trump as part of his inquiry into the events of Jan. 6. However, the next day House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) insisted that the committee seek to get to the truth of the riot, “not to get Trump.”
Thompson said he intended to pursue a wide-ranging inquiry to uncover root causes of the riot, including issuing subpoenas to the former president and some of his most prominent allies on Capitol Hill.
“Nothing is off limits,” the Democrat lawmaker said.
If Trump administration officials refuse to testify at the committee, Thompson vowed to launch lawsuits to enforce his congressional oversight authority.
“We will pursue it in court,” he said.
Thompson said that his committee wanted to talk to anyone who spoke with Trump on Jan. 6.
He warned Republicans against attempting to stymie the investigation, saying that the committee had no deadline to furnish a report.
“Notwithstanding elections next year, we will not stop until our investigation is complete,” Thompson said.
The Mississippi congressman described the Jan. 6 event as “one of the most salient challenges we have as a nation, to make sure that this democracy does not fall prey to people who don’t really identify with democracy.”
Thompson said that his committee and senior House investigators would meet with Attorney General Merrick Garland, seeking to gather information for the investigation.
Though the Democrat chairman appeared to put Trump at the center of the investigation, House Speaker Pelosi, who created the select committee, claimed that their goal is to “get the truth, not Trump.”
“As you know, we named our committee. And it’s bipartisan … Staff is being hired to do the job. We’re there to seek the truth. We’re there to get the truth, not to get Trump. That seems to be what the other side is obsessed with,” Pelosi said at her weekly press briefing at the Capitol on Thursday.
A “bipartisan” committee, as Pelosi described, is composed of seven Democrats, including Reps. Zoe Lofgren of California, Adam Schiff of California, Jamie Raskin of Maryland, Pete Aguilar of California, Stephanie Murphy of Florida, Elaine Luria of Virginia, and Thompson. The only Republican is Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, a never-Trump member.
Pelosi on Wednesday rejected two out of five Republican nominees appointed to the committee, prompting House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy to decide to pull all his picks. However, the speaker said the committee would proceed despite the Republicans’ protests.