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The Jan. 6 committee votes to subpoena Trump

SACHA PFEIFFER, HOST:

We begin with two setbacks on the legal front for former President Donald Trump. In one case, the Supreme Court turned away Trump's appeal to intervene in his legal battle to allow a special master to review classified documents the FBI seized from his Mar-a-Lago home. Separately, the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol has voted unanimously to subpoena the former president in its investigation into that attack.

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EVAN MAULDIN: Mr. Chairman, on this vote, there are nine ayes and zero nos.

PFEIFFER: We're going to stay on this development. Committee members spent what may be their final hearing laying out what witnesses say Trump knew about plans to violently disrupt the certification of Joe Biden's presidential election win and what he did when that violence erupted. NPR's Deirdre Walsh is at the Capitol. And, Deirdre, what do we know about the committee's intentions to seek testimony from Trump?

DEIRDRE WALSH, BYLINE: Well, as we heard, they voted unanimously to subpoena the former president for documents and testimony under oath. This was a little unexpected going in today's hearing. We learned that they were planning to do this sort of midway through the hearing. This is kind of an unprecedented step, at least in modern times. The panel has been debating about whether or not to issue a subpoena to former President Trump. The chairman, Bennie Thompson, and ranking member Liz Cheney met with House Speaker Pelosi late last month. And I'm told they did give the speaker a heads-up that they were going to take this step today.

But we should say it's unlikely that Trump is going to cooperate. He is likely going to go to court and could fight the subpoena. There are serious separation of powers issues here about, you know, who was a sitting president at the time, when - about the events of January 6 that they want to talk to him. We should also say that the committee is wrapping up its work. The panel expires at the end of this year. So even though they probably don't expect Trump to cooperate, they wanted to make the case that he should have to appear.

PFEIFFER: Deirdre, the panel described what the Secret Service and other agencies heard in advance. What did they hear about what the agents knew and what they told Trump?

WALSH: I mean, this was some new information that we got today. The panel in recent weeks has gotten hundreds of thousands of emails and documents from the Secret Service after they had to subpoena the agency in July. The committee showed new emails today and an intel report - parts of that - that the Secret Service had information before January 6 that people were planning to come to Washington and to cause violence. We saw emails in late December that they were talking about reports about violent rhetoric on Parler, which is a social media platform, about threats to protectees, people that the Secret Service protect, like Vice President Pence. So they were aware of this potential. There were also messages from the Secret Service about their concerns about security and one exchange on the day that President Trump lost an effort in the Supreme Court, warning those around the president that he was in a bad mood.

PFEIFFER: How did the committee connect the dots on what Trump did while the siege was underway?

WALSH: They showcased testimony from people at the White House telling the committee that the president was in his office, or in a conference room near his office, watching the attack on television. They remarked to each other. They were asked by the members in taped depositions about what he was doing during those hours. Here's Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin.

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JAMIE RASKIN: Until approximately 4 p.m., over the next two hours and 40 minutes, the president stayed in the White House dining room attached to the Oval Office and watched this unprecedented assault take place at the Capitol.

PFEIFFER: And what were members of Congress doing as this mob approached?

WALSH: I mean, this, I think, was the most dramatic stuff that we saw today at today's hearing. We saw behind-the-scenes video, never-before-seen video of the top leaders on Capitol Hill in the secure location - people like Speaker Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Here's some of what they showed us of Pelosi talking to Vice President Pence, strategizing about how they're going to reopen the House chamber and talking about how the rioters had made a mess.

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NANCY PELOSI: We've gotten a very bad report about the condition of the House floor. There's defecation and all that kind of thing as well. I don't think that that's hard to clean up.

WALSH: Definitely a lot of new, dramatic material at what is expected to be the final hearing of the January 6 committee.

PFEIFFER: That's NPR's Deirdre Walsh reporting from the Capitol. Deirdre, thank you.

WALSH: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Deirdre Walsh is the congress editor for NPR's Washington Desk.