Trump focuses on false election fraud claims after subpoena vote

Trump sent letter decrying again the congressional investigation into January 6 riot after panel moved to subpoena him.

Trump capitol
A video of then-President Donald Trump speaking is displayed as the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol holds a hearing in Washington, DC [Alex Wong/The Associated Press]

Donald Trump has doubled down on his unfounded claims of election fraud after a congressional panel investigating the January 6, 2021, riot at the US capitol voted to subpoena the former president and possible 2024 candidate.

In a letter to the committee’s chairperson, dated Thursday and posted to Trump’s Truth Social platform Friday, the former US president reiterated his wholesale rejection of the investigation, which was launched months after his supporters stormed the US Capitol in the hopes of overturning President Joe Biden’s election victory.

Trump did not mention the subpoena, which the panel unanimously approved following its ninth public hearing on the events surrounding the deadly riot and Trump’s role in it.

Instead, Trump repeated a litany of falsehoods related to the incident, including the unfounded claims that widespread fraud had affected the outcome of the presidential vote.

To date, there has been no evidence that malfeasance shifted the election results. Dozens of lawsuits by Trump’s campaign and its supporters were dismissed or dropped because they were found to have no merit.

“This memo is being written to express our anger, disappointment, and complaint … you have not spent even a short moment on examining the massive Election Fraud that took place during the 2020 Presidential Election,” read the letter, which was signed by Trump, “and have targeted only those who were, as concerned American Citizens, protesting the Fraud itself.”

Trump also again claimed that he had “recommended and authorized thousands of troops” to be deployed to the US Capitol for the rally, but the request was blocked by Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

To date, no evidence has emerged backing either claim. On Thursday, the congressional panel played video of Pelosi and other legislators appealing to an array of officials for security backup as they waited, trapped, during the riot.

While lacking evidence, Trump’s misinformation campaign has transformed the upcoming midterm elections, which in November will decide which parties control the US House of Representatives and Senate, as well as who will occupy top state postings and legislatures.

According to a Washington Post analysis, of the 569 Republican candidates running for the House and Senate or top state roles, 291 have questioned or outright denied the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

At least 171 of those candidates are projected to win handily, while another 48 are in tightly contested races.

In his letter, Trump acknowledged the strength of his supporters in the upcoming polls.

“The people of this Country will not stand for unequal justice under the law, or Liberty and Justice for some,” he wrote. “Election Day is coming.”

Meanwhile, with Democrats expected to lose the House in the midterms, it is unclear what practical effect, if any, the congressional panel’s subpoena will have. If a Republican-controlled chamber takes over in the new Congress in January, it would likely end the panel’s probe.

Still, speaking to US broadcaster National Public Radio on Friday, Representative Jamie Raskin said a failure of Trump to comply would have massive symbolic significance.

“If he refuses to come forward, he’s essentially assenting to our establishment of his central culpability in staging the coup against America and the violent insurrection,” he said.

He added that the panel could pursue criminal contempt of Congress charges, as it did against Steve Bannon, as well as a civil order seeking to enforce the subpoena, although both scenarios are likely to end in protracted court battles.

“We don’t think this is just some kind of poetic exercise,” Raskin said. “We really want and expect Donald Trump to come forward and to answer a whole bunch of questions we have about this attack on our constitutional order.”

Source: Al Jazeera