January 6th Committee Waves the White Flag on Donald Trump Testimony

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

The January 6th Committee has officially given up on trying to secure direct testimony from Donald Trump. Harmeet Dhillon, who is running for RNC chair against Ronna McDaniel and whose law firm represented Trump on the matter, announced on Wednesday that the subpoena of the former president had been officially withdrawn.


The letter was signed by Rep. Bennie Thompson, who chairs the soon-to-be shuttered committee. In it, he cites the completion of the committee’s work as the reason for withdrawing the subpoena, though that ignores the fact that they didn’t win in court.

I got a base hit in predicting how this would play out. As I said in my original write-up at the time the subpoena was issued, the game here was always to run out the clock. Dhillon had the legal argument to keep things tied up for longer than the committee could string things along. With the GOP taking over the House in January, any subpoena would have been withdrawn anyway. Thompson is just getting ahead of that to avoid further embarrassment.

Call it “losing on your own terms,” I suppose.

To be clear, they aren’t subpoenaing Trump because they actually think he would give them evidence of their hare-brained allegation of a “seven-step plan” to overthrow the government. You can’t garner evidence of something that didn’t happen, at least not legitimately. Rather, the hope is that Trump fights the subpoena so they can point and say “see, he’s guilty” again and again before Republicans shut down their committee in January…

…I understand the former president has never met publicity he didn’t want, but this is one case where it’s far preferable to point and laugh from afar. By the time the subpoena gets through the courts, the GOP will control the House and this will all be moot. If the goal is to make Cheney and company irrelevant, that’s how you do it.


The other part of the game was the January 6th committee likely knew the clock would be run out. They waited until October of 2022 to even issue the subpoena, just a month before the election. Why would they do that if Trump was their top target and the entire focus of their investigation? As I wrote in the above excerpt from October, that subpoena was as much about garnering a “what is Trump hiding?” news cycle as it was actually expecting the former president to show up and testify.

In that respect, I guess they got what they wanted (the press went wild covering the subpoena), though that narrative was fleeting and seems irrelevant as we head into the new year. Of course, the timing of the subpoena was also about interfering in the 2022 mid-term election, which was always the committee’s ultimate purpose. Their much-hyped report, which was released just days before Christmas, has already been largely forgotten and was yet another dud produced by Liz Cheney and company.

The January 6th committee was never about getting to the truth, and the handling of the Trump subpoena was more evidence of that. Far from doing things in a manner would help reach their stated goals, the committee’s membership prioritized political propagandizing and press hits. What a depressing waste of time and money.



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