Jan. 6 Panel Votes to Subpoena Trump as It Wraps Up Its Case

The stunning behind-the-scenes look came as the panel delivered what amounted to a closing argument to an investigation that began 15 months ago. Members took turns laying out an indictment of Mr. Trump, telling a story that began in the summer of 2020 and, by their own account, has still not ended.

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Well before any votes were cast, the committee members said, Mr. Trump had hatched a plan to simply claim victory on Election Day.

“The ballots counted by the Election Day deadline show the American people have bestowed on me the great honor of re-election to president of the United States — the deadline by which voters in states across the country must choose a president,” Tom Fitton, a right-wing activist who heads the group Judicial Watch, suggested Mr. Trump say in a statement, effectively discounting lawfully cast early and absentee votes.

Mr. Fitton, who offered the advice days before the election, indicated in a text message presented by the panel that he had discussed the idea with Mr. Trump.

And the committee showed how the president embraced that approach, despite the advice of aides who told him on election night that he could not say he had won. With a coterie of allies, Mr. Trump then sought to stave off his defeat by spreading lies that voting across the country had been marred by widespread fraud.

“This big lie, President Trump’s effort to convince Americans that he had won the 2020 election, began before the election results even came in,” said Representative Zoe Lofgren, Democrat of California. “It was intentional, it was premeditated, it was not based on election results or any evidence of actual fraud affecting the results or any actual problems with voting machines.”

Even though dozens of courts ruled against him and his own advisers ultimately told him to concede, Mr. Trump stubbornly ignored the facts, the committee said, and aggressively pressured state officials, strong-armed Justice Department leaders and sought to create fake slates of electors in states that had been won by Joseph R. Biden Jr.

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