Trump is unlikely to testify publicly to the January 6th committee

When the January 6th congressional committee voted to subpoena Trump to testify before it, I thought that there was a real possibility that he would because, despite the risks that he will say something incriminating, Trump loves to be on TV so much and the ratings for such a hearing, the only measure that he seems to really care about, would go through the roof. He could use the event to ignore the questions and instead rant about all his pet peeves.

It seems like the committee was well aware of this possibility and vice-chair Liz Cheney said that Trump’s testimony would not be live, in order to avoid the hearings becoming a circus.

Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, co-chair of the House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection, said the committee expects former President Donald Trump would testify behind closed doors if he complies with the committee’s subpoena, and said the committee wants to avoid turning Trump’s testimony into political theater.

Cheney said in an interview with NBC News on Sunday she expects Trump will comply with a subpoena from the committee that called on the former President to testify and share select documents with investigators. Cheney said the committee plans to treat Trump’s testimony “with great seriousness.”

“We are going to proceed in terms of questioning of the former President under oath,” Cheney said. “It may take multiple days, and it will be done with a level of rigor and discipline and seriousness that it deserves.”

Cheney dismissed the possibility of Trump testifying in front of the committee publicly.

“(Trump)’s not going to turn this into a circus,” Cheney said. “This isn’t going to be, you know, his first debate against Joe Biden and the circus and the food fight that that became. This is a far too serious set of issues.”

When I read that, I doubted that Trump would testify. Having the committee release selected portions of he testimony would not be to his liking.

But in a later report, Cheney seemed to open the door to allow live televised testimony.

Cheney’s office later clarified her remarks, making it clear that she was not ruling out the possibility of Trump’s live testimony.

Cheney also said during the interview that she thinks Trump has committed “multiple criminal offenses,” citing evidence and testimony the panel has aired in recent public hearings, and warned that the committee has “many, many alternatives” to consider if he tries to defy the subpoena.

“We’ve put on testimony that showed that he admitted that he lost,” Cheney said. “But even if he thought that he had won, you may not send an armed mob to the Capitol.”

So there we are. I think that Trump will demand that the hearings be live and give him unchecked ability to speak his mind while they, if they agree to live hearings at all, will want to have in place rules to prevent a circus. But how likely is Trump to stay with any rules that he has agreed to? The committee is I am sure well aware of that danger. Their main option if he should start filibustering would be to cut his mike, although that may just make him shout louder.

So let the negotiations begin!


  1. JM says

    It occurred to me that there is one potential advantage for the committee if they let Trump testify in public. If it’s entirely private testimony he can sit there and plead the 5th on every question. He doesn’t care what the committee says about him later. If it’s public though he won’t be able to resist talking and giving his side of this case and the other cases against him.

  2. StonedRanger says

    There isnt a chance in hell he is going to testify without going through every court of appeals he can find and even then pleading the fifth isnt actually testifying. I said it before and I will keep saying it, he will be dead long before he sees the inside of a courtroom much less a prison or jail cell.

  3. says

    My mental model of the Angry Cheeto has him being a sociopathic narcissist: He can’t admit failure, can’t stay out of the spotlight, and has limitless faith in his ability to use words to manipulate any and all human beings into doing what he wants them to do. If the Jan6 committee grants the Cheeto an opportunity to give testimony in public, he may well not be able to resist the lure of (what he considers to be) free publicity. And sure, he can and will lie like a Persian rug in any such testimony. But since it is testimony before a lawfully constituted tribunal, any lies the Cheeto utters will be perjury—and it should be trivially easy to prove that his lies are lies.

  4. billseymour says

    I certainly hope that cubist @3 is correct:  what a joy it would be to watch the perp walk on TV! 😎  (Especially if they forced his head down like they did for that other scum bag, El Chapo.)

    Most of the really fun things I hope for never come to pass, however.

  5. sonofrojblake says

    Isn’t the whole committee going to be wound up when the GOP win the midterms? Or have I heard that wrong?

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