Jan 6 Committee Chair May Subpoena Donald Trump

The chairman of the House select committee charged with investigating the January 6 Capitol riot has said he would seek testimony from Trump administration officials and possibly former President Donald Trump himself.

Representative Bennie Thompson spoke to the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper in an interview published on Wednesday and said he would issue subpoenas to some senior members of the previous administration and would pursue subpoenas in court if necessary.

Thompson, a Democrat who represents Mississippi's 2nd congressional district, stressed the seriousness of the investigation and said he wanted to hear from anyone who spoke to Trump on January 6—including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Thompson said he's willing to seek depositions from former Trump officials and members of Congress who might have been involved in the Capitol riot.

"Nothing is off limits," Thompson told The Guardian.

"The issues of January 6 are 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," he added.

Thompson indicated to the newspaper that Trump and McCarthy are among the major witnesses for the investigation and he said the committee will examine McCarthy's January 6 phone call with the then president.

"There will not be a reluctance on the part of the committee to pursue it," Thompson said. "The committee will want to know if there is a record of what was said."

On the question of issuing a subpoena to Trump, Thompson told PBS on July 6 that "we have the subpoena authority."

"If the facts themselves lead us to any individual, we will not hesitate to bring them before the committee," he said.

The Democrat told The Guardian that anyone who spoke to Trump on the day of the deadly Capitol riot will be the subject of the investigation. He could also seek testimony from Trump's eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and other senior officials who were in the Oval Office with Trump on January 6.

"If somebody spoke to the president on January 6, I think it would be important for our committee to know what was said. I can't imagine you talk about anything else to the president on January 6," Thompson said.

Thompson also addressed the question of Trump administration officials refusing to testify by citing executive privilege. In that situation, Thompson said he would seek to enforce the subpoenas in the courts.

"We will pursue it in court," he said.

Thompson said he expects the committee and senior House investigators to meet with Attorney General Merrick Garland and to work closely with the Department of Justice but argued that this investigation would not interfere with any ongoing probes into January 6.

"We don't want to get in the way of indictments," he said. "But I think there could be some sharing of information that could be germane to our investigation, just like other committees have negotiated in the past."

Newsweek has asked Representatives Thompson and McCarthy and former President Trump's office for comment.

Donald Trump Addresses the Media in Texas
Former President Donald Trump addresses a member of the media after a border security briefing on June 30, 2021 in Weslaco, Texas. Chairman of the House select committee charged with investigating the January 6 Capitol riot Bennie Thompson has said he would seek testimony from Trump administration officials. Brandon Bell/Getty Images