January 6: The committee summons Kevin McCarthy and four other House Republicans

January 6: The committee summons Kevin McCarthy and four other House Republicans

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The committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob has subpoenaed five Republican congressmen, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (California), after they refused to participate in the probe of the board to cooperate.

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), chair of the special committee, said Thursday that the panel will include McCarthy and Reps. Mo Brooks (Ala.), Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Scott Perry (Pa.) and Jim Jordan (Ohio).

The move marks a significant escalation in the committee’s efforts to obtain information about lawmakers’ communications with then-President Donald Trump and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows before, during and after the attack.

In a statement, Thompson said the committee “has learned that several of our colleagues have information relevant to our investigation into the January 6 attack and the events leading up to it.”

“Before we hold our hearings next month, we wanted to give members the opportunity to voluntarily discuss these matters with the committee,” Thompson said. “Regrettably, those receiving subpoenas today have refused, and we are compelled to take this step to ensure the committee uncovers facts about January 6th. We urge our colleagues to obey the law, do their patriotic duty, and cooperate in our investigations, as hundreds of other Witnesses have done.”

The committee said in its letters to McCarthy and Brooks that it is compelling the two Republicans to come forward for testimony on May 31. Biggs and Perry are scheduled to testify on May 26, and Jordan is scheduled to testify on May 27.

The subpoenas come ahead of the committee’s long-awaited public hearings, which are scheduled to begin on June 9.

As of Thursday, the committee had hesitated to subpoena GOP lawmakers for a number of reasons, including time pressures — a complex and lengthy legal battle could stretch beyond the November midterm election — as well as fears of retaliation in the likely event Republicans win back the House majority .

According to two people familiar with the investigation, investigators have been working to identify precedents for subpoenaing seated members. One example they have focused on is the House Ethics Committee’s two-year investigation into the personal finances of former Congressman Charles B. Rangel (DN.Y.). Rangel, who was eventually found guilty on 11 ethics charges, was subpoenaed by the investigative subcommittee after denying repeated requests for a forensic accountant’s report and other documents.

All five Republican lawmakers subpoenaed Thursday have declined to voluntarily provide information to the committee.

In a brief interview with reporters on Thursday, McCarthy declined to say whether he would comply with the subpoena while repeating his criticism of the committee.

“My opinion on the committee hasn’t changed,” he said. “You are not conducting a legitimate investigation. It seems they just want to go after their political opponents.”

Jordan also declined to say if he would comply. The other lawmakers did not immediately respond to news of the subpoenas.

In a January letter to McCarthy, Thompson said the panel was interested in his correspondence with Meadows before the attack, as well as McCarthy’s communications with Trump during and after the riot. Details of those talks could give the committee further insight into Trump’s state of mind at the time, Thompson wrote.

“We also need to know how the President’s plans for January 6 came about and how he attempted to alter the election results,” he wrote. “For example, before January 6, you reportedly told Mark Meadows and the former President that objections to the January 6 vote confirmation were ‘doomed to fail.'”

McCarthy responded in January by arguing in a statement that the committee’s “sole purpose is to try to harm its political opponents.”

When Republicans retake the House of Representatives in November, McCarthy is widely expected to be elected Speaker — although some members of the House GOP conference have expressed reservations after recent leaked audio recordings McCarthy blaming Trump for the riot and raised alarm expressed about the actions of several House Republicans days after the January 6 attack.

Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), chairman of the conservative Republican Trials Committee, said he would let McCarthy and others decide whether to comply with the subpoenas. He claimed – as almost everyone in the GOP House has said – that the bipartisan committee was “a witch hunt”.

“It’s a political circus,” Banks said. “It’s a joke. And no one is surprised that they have taken another step to fully politicize this.”

When asked Thursday if he thinks McCarthy and the other four Republicans will comply with the subpoenas, Thompson replied, “I hope they do.”

During the investigation, the names of the five Republicans “came up in a variety of ways, and we believe information and responses are important,” Thompson told reporters at the Capitol.

He declined to say whether a contempt vote could be in the works if lawmakers refuse to comply.

“No talk about contempt. We’re going to be talking about next steps, which can include a number of things,” Thompson said.

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) dismissed the notion that the committee’s decision to subpoena the five lawmakers represented a political escalation.

“It’s not an escalation at all,” Hoyer said on Thursday. “We should all be called upon to speak the truth before a committee seeking information important to our country and our democracy.”

He shrugged that Democrats could expose themselves to future subpoenas under a potential Republican majority.

“I have no problem with being subpoenaed in person,” Hoyer said. “You know, I’m going to tell the truth. If I have information they need, that’s fine. I do not understand this extraordinary response to the pursuit of a legal, due process.”

Marianna Sotomayor, Leigh Ann Caldwell, and Mike DeBonis contributed to this report.

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