Jan 6. committee can't find a Trump lawyer that will accept service of subpoena: report

The report comes days after a judge cracked down on Trump's effort to dodge service of a New York fraud lawsuit

By Areeba Shah

Staff Writer

Published October 20, 2022 1:58PM (EDT)

Donald Trump (MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Donald Trump (MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

The House Jan. 6 committee voted to subpoena former President Donald Trump last week but investigators are still trying to find someone authorized to accept service of it, according to ABC News.

The subpoena was introduced by the panel's vice chair, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., who called Trump the riot's "central player." All nine members of the panel voted to approve the resolution.

The panel's chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., acknowledged the move as a "serious and extraordinary action" but said that the committee had an "obligation" to hear from Trump.

"This is a question about accountability to the American people. He must be accountable. He is required to answer for his actions. He's required to answer to those police officers who put their lives and bodies on the line to defend our democracy. He's required to answer to those millions of Americans whose votes he wanted to throw out as part of his scheme to remain in power," Thompson said.

Members of his legal team, including Evan Corcoran and John Rowley, have both told committee investigators they are not permitted to accept service of the subpoena on behalf of the former president, according to ABC News.

Corcoran has emerged as a key figure representing Trump in his federal investigation related to the Mar-a-Lago documents and Rowley has been representing the former president on executive privilege issues related to the DOJ's ongoing probe of the Jan. 6 attack.

If the matter is sorted, the subpoena could be issued as soon as Thursday, sources told ABC News.

Trump has told aides that he would comply and testify before the committee only if it is broadcast live, according to The New York Times' Maggie Haberman. In a 14-page letter that he wrote to the committee, Trump repeatedly brought up false claims of fraud in the 2020 presidential election — the same allegations that fueled the attack on the Capitol — but did not say whether he will comply with the subpoena.

"This memo is being written to express our anger, disappointment, and complaint that with all of the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on what many consider to be a Charade and Witch Hunt, and despite strong and powerful requests, you have not spent even a short moment on examining the massive Election Fraud that took place during the 2020 Presidential Election, and have targeted only those who were, as concerned American Citizens, protesting the Fraud itself," Trump wrote. 

If for some reason Trump resists the subpoena, it could result in a constitutional showdown with the committee encountering several hurdles in asking him to comply, according to legal experts and congressional counsel, the Washington Post reported.

The former president is also busy fighting other legal battles. Trump for weeks dodged a $250 million lawsuit brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James. Trump and Eric Trump for weeks avoided being served with a subpoena until a judge allowed James to serve the subpoena electronically after she complained to the court.

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The lawsuit accuses Trump, his three eldest children and the Trump Organization of lying about the value of their assets for years. Trump "falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to further enrich himself and cheat the system" and "repeatedly and persistently manipulated the value of assets to induce banks to lend money to the Trump Organization," James said at a news conference

In addition to pursuing penalties, James is also seeking to permanently bar the Trumps from conducting business in New York. 

The state attorney general's office is also seeking the appointment of an independent monitor to "oversee compliance, financial reporting, valuations, and disclosures to lenders, insurers, and tax authorities at the Trump Organization" for at least five years.

As part of her 2018 campaign, James vowed to investigate and sue Trump – who she referred to as an "illegitimate president" and an "embarrassment." 

Trump has insisted that, like other investigations, the attorney general's office is also conducting a politically motivated "witch hunt."

By Areeba Shah

Areeba Shah is a staff writer at Salon covering news and politics. Previously, she was a research associate at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and a reporting fellow for the Pulitzer Center, where she covered how COVID-19 impacted migrant farmworkers in the Midwest.

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