A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center
FactCheck.org is celebrating 15 years of holding politicians accountable.

Video: Trump’s False Subpoena Claim


This week, CNN’s Jake Tapper takes a look at a claim that President Donald Trump made about subpoenas issued by the House committees for documents and testimony related to the impeachment inquiry.

In criticizing the House Democrats for their handling of the impeachment inquiry, Trump said this about former GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan and current speaker, Nancy Pelosi: 

Trump, Oct. 16: [T]he Republicans have been treated very unfairly by the Democrats. I’ll say this: Paul Ryan would never issue a subpoena. I don’t say right or wrong. He wouldn’t do it. He had too much respect for our country. Nancy Pelosi hands them out like cookies.

That’s not true. Committees, not House speakers, issue subpoenas. And GOP-controlled committees issued numerous subpoenas to Obama administration officials, including during Ryan’s relatively brief time as speaker when Barack Obama was president. Ryan served as speaker from Oct. 29, 2015, to Jan. 3, 2019, so he ruled the House for little more than one year when Obama was president.

In fact, two GOP-controlled committee investigations of Hillary Clinton, a former secretary of state and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, issued 17 subpoenas in August and September 2016, a few months before the 2016 presidential election.

Kurt Bardella — who was a spokesman for one of those committees, the House oversight committee — tweeted this when Trump made a similar claim on Oct. 2:  “wow … @realDonaldTrump just said Republicans didn’t issue subpoenas to @BarackObama … as the former Spokesperson/Advisor for @GOPoversight I can tell you this is 100% false … our committee alone issued more than 100 subpoenas to the Obama Admin.”

For more about this and other claims made by the president in a busy day of public appearances on Oct. 16, please see our story “Flurry of Trump Falsehoods.”

FactCheck.org and CNN’s “State of the Union” collaborate on weekly fact-checking videos, which appear on CNN’s politics page and our website. Past videos can be found here.