Brief

Vos fights subpoena from U.S. House committee investigating Jan. 6 attack

By: - September 26, 2022 2:40 pm
Speaker Robin Vos flies with former President Donald Trump to talk election audit on 8/21/21 | Vos official Facebook

Speaker Robin Vos flies with former President Donald Trump on Aug. 21, 2021. The two discussed Wisconsin’s election review that Vos commissioned. (Vos official Facebook page)

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) is suing the U.S. House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol to block a subpoena that directs him to testify about his phone conversation this July with former President Donald Trump.

In his lawsuit, Vos claims the conversation, when Trump urged him to decertify Wisconsin’s 2020 presidential election, is “entirely outside of the Committee’s authorized scope” and has “no bearing on the events and causes of January 6, 2021.”

Trump made the call after the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled 4-3 against the use of drop boxes for voters to return absentee ballots, a longstanding practice in Wisconsin elections that increased in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Vos described the call in an interview on WISN-TV that aired in July.

“After you reportedly told Mr. Trump that what he was requesting is not allowed under the Wisconsin constitution, Mr. Trump posted derogatory statements about you on Truth Social and endorsed your challenger in the 2022 Republican primary,” the subpoena states. “The circumstances and details regarding your interaction with former President Trump related to the 2020 election are relevant to the Select Committee’s investigation and proposed recommendations.”

The subpoena directs Vos to give a deposition “concerning your interactions with former President Trump regarding overturning the results of the 2020 election.”

In his lawsuit to block it, Vos asserts that the subpoena “imposes an undue burden, seeks to infringe on Speaker Vos’ legislative immunity from civil process, lacks a lawful purpose, and was issued from an unlawful committee.”

Vos was served with the subpoena on Saturday and directed to appear for a deposition on Monday. The lawsuit to block the congressional order was filed Sunday in federal court in Milwaukee.

The suit challenges the subpoena’s short notice, saying it would divert him from campaigning “in the closing days of a hard-fought reelection battle” and would deprive him of necessary legal counsel in the “nuanced and complex constitutional issues” that the subpoena raises. 

“The only explanation for such an extreme timeline is the Committee’s desire to conduct the deposition before its next publicly televised hearing on Wednesday, September 28, 2022, so that clips can be edited out to be used in a multimedia show,” the lawsuit asserts.

Press representatives for the U.S. House committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday. A hearing in the lawsuit is scheduled Tuesday. 

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Erik Gunn
Erik Gunn

Deputy Editor Erik Gunn reports and writes on work and the economy, health policy and related subjects, for the Wisconsin Examiner. He spent 24 years as a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine, Isthmus, The Progressive, BNA Inc., and other publications, winning awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, beat coverage, business writing, and commentary. An East Coast native, he previously covered labor for The Milwaukee Journal after reporting for newspapers in upstate New York and northern Illinois. He's a graduate of Beloit College (English Comp.) and the Columbia School of Journalism. Off hours he is the Examiner's resident Springsteen and Jackson Browne fanboy and model railroad nerd.

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