Litman: The House subpoena may not force Trump to testify about Jan. 6, but it’s not an empty gesture. It’s part of the campaign to get him to testify to Congress about his ties to Russia
President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team asked for a congressional subpoena Wednesday to enforce a House subpoena, as the battle over Trump’s ties to Russia was intensifying ahead of the incoming president’s inauguration on Friday.
The White House had previously said it would not cooperate with the House probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election that was sparked by two intelligence reports issued in January 2017. The House voted to hold former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty this month to lying to federal investigators about his contacts with Russia, in criminal contempt, and has threatened to hold him under further pressure at a later date.
But under mounting pressure to appear, Trump’s transition team, working with lawyers for Trump, asked for a congressional subpoena to enforce the House subpoena.
A representative for the transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“I believe there is a great appetite to have President-Elect Trump come to testify,” a House Judiciary Committee aide said. “The fact that President-Elect Trump and his staff requested a subpoena today is significant,” the aide added.
Trump told reporters Wednesday, “I will be willing to do an interview” with the committee, after a meeting in the Oval Office with his presidential transition team and with committee members, including committee chair Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y.
The request came a day after the House voted to hold former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty in federal court to lying to federal investigators about his contacts with Russia, in criminal contempt.
The vote came after a two-month investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia led by the committee after Flynn’s guilty plea. Flynn is a former retired Army lieutenant general and a current Trump adviser.
“They have a right to ask him questions. He’s been subpoenaed,” Nadler said of Trump at a news conference Wednesday afternoon. “And he should cooperate.”
“It’s very important that President-Elect Trump is willing to tell the truth, if he is able to honor his promise that he will do so,” he added.
Trump’s lawyers, led by Marc Kasowitz, have argued that a possible congressional subpoena would be a violation of free-speech protections enshrined in the constitution, while