House investigators are unlikely to call former president Donald Trump to testify about his role in the January 6, 2021 insurrection, relying instead on interviews with aides, family and others who were close to him at the time.
Bennie Thompson, the Democratic chairman of the nine-member panel investigating the attack, says it's "not our expectations" to call Trump, whose supporters broke into the US Capitol that day and interrupted the certification of President Joe Biden's victory.
Thompson said the panel had not made any final decisions, "but there's no feeling among the committee to call him as a witness at this point".
"We're not sure that the evidence that we receive can be any more validated with his presence," Thompson said. "I think the concern is whether or not he would add any more value with his testimony."
The panel is preparing to hold public hearings in June and as members make final decisions about who to call for testimony.
The committee has already talked to almost 1000 witnesses behind closed doors or on video, including aides to Trump and former vice-president Mike Pence who have testified about Trump's pressure on Pence to object to Biden's certification. But the panel has not heard directly from either of the men.
Trump is still pushing falsehoods about the presidential election, saying there was widespread fraud even though election officials across the country, federal courts and even his own attorney-general rejected those claims.
Pence rejected Trump's pressure and refused to try to object as part of his ceremonial role overseeing the electoral count.
Thompson said testimony from Pence would be "significant" but the committee was still speaking with his lawyers.
The chairman also said the Justice Department had asked the panel to turn over some transcripts from interviews but it had not agreed to.
"If they want to come and talk, just like we've had other agencies to come and talk, we'd be happy to talk to them, but we can't give them access to our work product at this point," he said.
Thompson said the committee planned to turn over the transcripts when it completed its investigation.
AP with Reuters
Australian Associated Press
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