Former U.S. President Donald Trump was issued a subpoena on Friday compelling him to testify under oath and provide documents to a congressional committee investigating the deadly Capitol riot perpetrated by a pro-Trump mob in January 2021.
The latest step by the committee set up in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives comes less than three weeks before the midterm elections, with the party facing headwinds to retain its thin majority in the chamber amid high inflation and the flagging popularity of Democratic President Joe Biden.
"We have assembled overwhelming evidence, including from dozens of your former appointees and staff, that you personally orchestrated and oversaw a multi-part effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election," the committee said in a letter to Trump, which was made public the same day.
Trump is accused of responding to the 2020 election loss by summoning his supporters to Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, and sending them, including some who were armed, to the Capitol while Congress was engaged in a process to certify Biden's election win.
"In short, you were at the center of the first and only effort by any U.S. president to overturn an election and obstruct the peaceful transition of power," the committee told Trump, who left the White House weeks after the Capitol riot.
Trump remains an influential figure in the Republican Party and continues to assert, without independent evidence, that the 2020 election was "rigged" against him.
The subpoena served to the former president asked for relevant documents to be turned over to the committee by Nov. 4 and for him to appear to give testimony on or around Nov. 14.
Refusal to comply with a congressional subpoena is deemed a misdemeanor under U.S. law, punishable by imprisonment of up to one year. If the investigation committee's subpoena is ignored, the House may turn to the Justice Department for a decision on whether to bring charges.
On Friday, Steve Bannon, a former Trump adviser, was sentenced to four months in prison and handed a $6,500 fine for not complying with a subpoena from the same committee.
Prior to Trump, at least three former presidents -- John Quincy Adams, John Tyler and Harry Truman -- have been issued congressional subpoenas, according to The New York Times. Truman was issued a subpoena in 1953 over accusations linked to an appointment of a Soviet spy, but declined to comply and was not pressed further.