Briefline

U.S. House Jan. 6 Committee subpoenas 5 GOP members who declined to testify

By: - May 12, 2022 7:03 pm

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) holds his weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol June 13, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol subpoenaed five Republican House members Thursday who the panel believes have knowledge of the events leading up to the attack, including communication with then-President Donald Trump.

The Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol sent subpoenas to House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Mo Brooks of Alabama. The Republican members all had been invited to testify voluntarily, committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), said in a Thursday news release.

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Three-paragraph letters Thompson sent to the Republican members Thursday said the committee seeks to respect members’ privacy, but that it is also compelled to seek information relevant to its investigation.

“The Select Committee believes that you have information that is important to its investigation,” the subpoenas read. “Unfortunately, you have declined voluntary cooperation, and we are left with no choice but to issue you this subpoena.”

It is unclear what recourse the committee would have if the members also decline to cooperate with the subpoenas. The panel plans to hold public hearings next month.

McCarthy told reporters on Capitol Hill he did not view the committee’s investigation as legitimate. He did not say whether he planned to comply with the subpoena.

“Look, my view on the committee has not changed,” he said, according to the Capitol Hill press pool. “They’re not conducting a legitimate investigation. It seems as though they just want to go after their political opponents.”

In a Thursday afternoon tweet, Biggs called the committee illegitimate and the subpoenas “political theater,” meant to draw attention away from President Joe Biden’s record. A spokesman did not answer an emailed question about whether Biggs intended to comply with the subpoena.

Pro-Trump extremists breach security at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Alex Kent for Tennessee Lookout)

“The January 6 Committee’s ongoing, baseless witch hunt is nothing more than an effort to distract the American people from the Democrats’ and Biden’s disastrous leadership,” Biggs tweeted.

House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer, of Maryland, said the action was not an escalation of the committee’s investigation and didn’t warrant the objections from Republicans.

“I do not understand this extraordinary reaction to pursuing a legal, appropriate process,” he said.

The committee accused Biggs, Jordan, Perry and Brooks of being involved in efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. The Jan. 6 attack was spurred by a weeks-long campaign by Trump to nullify Joe Biden’s victory over the sitting president, based on the false claim that the election was illegitimate.

Biggs helped plan efforts to bring protestors to Washington for the counting of the Electoral College vote and was involved in attempts to pressure state officials to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Jordan communicated with Trump on the day of the attack and had meetings “throughout late 2020 and early 2021 about strategies for overturning the 2020 election,” the committee said.

Perry was directly involved with efforts to install Jeffrey Clark as the acting attorney general. Clark was thought to be willing to use the Justice Department to challenge the election results.

Then-Attorney General William Barr resigned in December 2020 rather than take orders from Trump to investigate phony claims of voter fraud. His successor, acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, also declined to investigate those claims, leading Trump loyalists to push for Clark to take over the department.

Perry also talked with the White House about other matters the committee is investigating, including allegations of voter fraud involving voting machines.

The panel’s interest in McCarthy appears focused on his role as a direct contact with Trump during the attack. The Republican leader communicated with Trump and White House staff before, during and immediately after the attack, according to the committee release.

Representatives for Biggs, Jordan and Perry did not return messages seeking comment Thursday.

Jennifer Shutt contributed to this report.

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Jacob Fischler
Jacob Fischler

Jacob covers federal policy as a senior reporter for States Newsroom. Based in Oregon, he focuses on Western issues. His coverage areas include climate, energy development, public lands and infrastructure.

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