Jan. 6 committee seeks testimony from Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Vos about Trump call

MADISON - The House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol wants Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos to testify about a phone call former President Donald Trump made in July asking the Rochester Republican to overturn the results of the 2020 election and other interactions with the former president.

But it has pulled back the demands of a subpoena it served Vos on Friday requiring him to testify Monday after Vos filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to block the committee's demand. The deposition was canceled by the committee, according to Vos' office, but the subpoena still stands.

"I was surprised to receive a subpoena since I have no information to provide about the events surrounding January 6th," Vos said in a statement.

"Given how close we are to the midterms, this subpoena seems to be more about partisan politics than actual fact-finding," Vos said.

Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said in a Friday letter to Vos that the details of the phone call and other interactions Vos has had with Trump regarding the 2020 election are relevant to the panel's investigation.

More: Ron Johnson rebukes Robin Vos for canceling Gableman election subpoenas, signaling ongoing Wisconsin GOP rift

More: Robin Vos’ Trump-endorsed opponent will run as a write-in candidate after losing GOP primary

Vos' new battle to avoid testifying comes after two years of Trump leveling the weight of his voice in the Republican Party against the Wisconsin Assembly speaker to extract a promise from him to overturn Trump's 2020 election loss, a move that has been repeatedly rejected by Vos and would have no practical outcome.

Legal scholars, attorneys, lawmakers, professors and constitutional experts characterize Trump's wish to be nothing more than a fantasy the former president could use to falsely claim to his supporters that he did not lose the presidential vote in Wisconsin.

Trump made a phone call to Vos in July after the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that the use of unmanned absentee ballot drop boxes were illegal. The ruling governs future elections, however, and does not invalidate votes cast via dropbox as Trump contends. Drop boxes have been used in Wisconsin for years, including in 2016 when Trump carried the state.

"So what’s Speaker Robin Vos doing on the Great Wisconsin Supreme Court Ruling declaring hundreds of thousands of Drop Box votes to be illegal? This is not a time for him to hide, but a time to act!" Trump said in a statement blasted July 19 to millions of followers after his phone call to Vos.

In an interview with WISN-TV, Vos described the call as another push from Trump to persuade Vos to declare President Joe Biden did not actually win Wisconsin in 2020.

"It's very consistent," Vos said. "He makes his case, which I respect. He would like us to do something different in Wisconsin. I explained it's not allowed under the constitution. He has a different opinion, and then he put out the tweet."

Vos argued in the lawsuit that the subpoena "imposes an undue burden" and violates Vos' "legislative immunity from civil process." He also argued details of such communication are protected by the U.S. Constitution.

Contact Molly Beck at molly.beck@jrn.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MollyBeck.

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Jan 6 committee seeks Wisconsin speaker Vos testimony over Trump call