Trump reportedly jumped at the chance to publicly testify before Jan. 6 committee, but his lawyers said no

Donald Trump clip at Jan. 6 hearing
Donald Trump clip at Jan. 6 hearing Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
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If former President Donald Trump defies his subpoena to testify before the House Jan. 6 committee, as seems likely, you can probably blame the cooler heads of his legal team.

Almost immediately after the Jan. 6 committee voted on TV to subpoena Trump, he "began telling people close to him that he'd love to testify before the congressional panel — if he got to do it on live television," Asawin Suebsaeng and Adam Rawnsley report at Rolling Stone, citing three people familiar with the matter. "Even the idea of it sent Trump's advisers scrambling to convince him it would be a disaster."

One Trump legal adviser summarized the response from Trump's lawyers: "Absolutely f--king not." Trump's lawyers told him Jan. 6 committee members would try to get him to perjure himself, Rolling Stone reports, and they might succeed, "particularly given Trump's penchant for lying."

Trump's initial response to the subpoena was a 14-page letter that attacked the committee but didn't say if he would testify. Since then, he has shared on social media a Fox News article claiming Trump "loves the idea of testifying."

If Trump did agree to testify, but only on live television, it isn't 100 percent certain the Jan. 6 committee would agree to those terms, though panel vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) didn't reject the idea outright on Sunday's Meet the Press. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) goaded Trump on MSNBC: "I don't think he's man enough to show up. I don't think his lawyers will want him to show up because he has to testify under oath."

Ty Cobb, a lawyer who represented Trump during Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation — Trump did not agree to testify, despite early signs he was willing to — agreed with Pelosi's assessment, though.

"I don't think any lawyer who truly has Trump's best interests, and is not merely following Trump's orders, at heart could — in his or her right mind — advise him to testify before the Jan. 6 committee," Cobb told Rolling Stone. "It is clear that testifying would be a bad idea, as highlighted by the fact that his initial reaction to the subpoena included a multi-page screed where he repeated the completely discredited theories of the Big Lie." You can read more at Rolling Stone.

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