EXCLUSIVE: Former President Donald Trump “loves the idea of testifying” before the House select committee investigating January 6th, a source close to Trump told Fox News Digital just after the panel unanimously voted to subpoena him.
The source said that if Trump complied with the subpoena and testified, he would “talk about how corrupt the election was, how corrupt the committee was, and how Nancy Pelosi did not call up the National Guard that Trump strongly recommended for her to do three days earlier on January 3, 2021.”
The source told Fox News Digital that it is unclear at this point if Trump actually will testify before the committee, but stressed that Trump “loves the idea.”
The committee — which consists of seven Democrats and two anti-Trump Republicans — voted Thursday to compel Trump to testify about his conduct leading up to and during the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.
In an exclusive interview with Fox News Digital on Thursday, Trump slammed the committee and its investigation as a “witch hunt.”
“The committee is a hoax, a sham, a partisan witch hunt which is a continuation of the witch hunt that has gone on since the great day for our country that I came down the golden escalator with our future first lady,” Trump said. “They have no case, they have no ratings, so they have to try to do this to get publicity.”
Trump did not comment on whether he would testify before the committee.
Trump told Fox News Digital that the investigation has been “a partisan witch hunt, together with two Republicans that have been thrown out of the party — one not wanting to run because he couldn’t win; and another losing by a record number of more than 40 points.”
Trump was referring to Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., who lost her primary earlier this year, and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., who decided not to run for re-election.
Trump told Fox News Digital that the committee “never covered the important subject of election fraud, or why Pelosi and the mayor of D.C. did not call up the National Guard — which I strongly recommended.”
“They didn’t cover the reason for January 6 — the largest crowd — it wasn’t set up by me,” Trump said. “The committee didn’t cover election fraud, which was massive, and they didn’t cover why Pelosi didn’t call the National Guard.”
Trump said that he had recommended that Pelosi and the mayor of Washington call up the National Guard on Jan. 6 because he “felt the crowd was going to be far bigger than anyone understood.”
“They didn’t do their job. I believed the crowd was going to be bigger — just my instinct — and they had the chance to call up the National Guard three days before Jan. 6, and if they did, Jan. 6 would have been a very different day,” Trump said. “But they didn’t do it.”
He added: “They were derelict in their duty. I gave them the authorization and the recommendation to call up the National Guard.”
Lawmakers on the House Committee on Jan. 6 have been investigating the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and allege that Trump’s insistence that the 2020 election was stolen stoked the violence as Congress convened to certify the Electoral College votes.
Hours before the riot, Trump held a rally in Washington, D.C., in which he encouraged his supporters to protest President Biden’s Electoral College certification. Trump told his followers during that speech to protest “peacefully and patriotically,” but, in the weeks leading up to the certification, suggested the rally would be “wild.”
Trump’s spokesman Taylor Budowich tweeted after the vote Thursday that just 26 days before the midterm elections, “instead of using their final days in power to make life for Americans any better, Democrats are doubling and tripling down on their partisan theatrics. Democrats have no solutions and they have no interest in leading our great nation.”
“They are simply bitter, power hungry & desperate,” Budowich tweeted. “Pres Trump will not be intimidated by their meritless rhetoric or un-American actions.”
He added: “Trump-endorsed candidates will sweep the Midterms, and America First leadership & solutions will be restored. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
The vote to subpoena Trump came during the committee’s 10th and likely final public hearing before the November midterm elections. Originally, the televised hearing was meant to only showcase new evidence and summarize findings from the committee’s nearly 16-month-long investigation.
“This is a question about accountability to the American people,” said committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss. “He’s required to answer to those millions of Americans whose votes he tried to throw out as part of his scheme to remain in power.”
“We are obligated to seek answers directly from the man who set this all in motion,” said Cheney. “Every American is entitled to those answers, so we can act now to protect our republic.”
Members of the committee said they had garnered sufficient evidence showing that the former president was the lead instigator of the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
“We must seek the testimony under oath of Jan. 6th’s key player,” said Cheney.
Trump could fight the subpoena, which likely would tip off a legal fight with just over two months left in the current Congress — a very short time frame for such a major legal dispute. If Republicans take over the House in the midterms, it’s not expected they will continue the work of the Jan. 6 committee.
There was an effort by Congress in the 1840s to subpoena former Presidents John Tyler and John Quincy Adams over clandestine intelligence issues. They never provided information.
There was also an effort by the Committee on Un-American Activities to subpoena former President Harry Truman after he was out of office. He ultimately did not comply.
Fox News’ Tyler Olson, Haris Alec, and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.