Jan. 6 committee subpoenas Kevin McCarthy, different Trump House allies

The committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot on the U.S. Capitol took the unprecedented step Thursday of issuing subpoenas to 5 Republican congressmen, together with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

The Democratic-controlled dedicated beforehand requested the congressmen, who additionally embrace Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Mo Brooks of Alabama and Andy Biggs of Arizona, to take a seat for voluntary interviews, however all had refused.

With the exception of ethics committee investigations, the subpoenas are believed to be the primary congressional subpoenas to sitting members and can nearly actually be challenged in court docket.

The panel has mentioned that each one 5 congressmen, who’re allies of former President Donald Trump, have info important to its probe of the lethal riot by a mob of Trump supporters in search of to disrupt President Joe Biden’s election victory.

“We urge our colleagues to comply with the law, do their patriotic duty, and cooperate with our investigation as hundreds of other witnesses have done,” committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss, said in a statement.

In a letter to McCarthy in January, Thompson said the panel wanted to hear about discussions the House GOP leader may have had with Trump and White House staffers in the days surrounding the riot, including a heated phone call with Trump on Jan. 6.

McCarthy, who was extremely important of Trump instantly after the riot, rejected the request, saying, “I’ve concluded to not take part with this choose committee’s abuse of energy that stains this establishment right now and can hurt it going ahead.”

Perry was the first congressman the committee asked to interview. Thompson said in a letter to Perry in December that the panel “had received evidence from multiple witnesses that you had an important role” in efforts to install Jeffrey Clark as acting attorney general in the waning days of the Trump administration.

The New York Times reported that Clark, a top official at the Justice Department, had been huddling with Trump while urging DOJ brass to find ways to keep him in office.

The panel mentioned Jordan, a high Trump ally and considered one of his most outspoken defenders, “had at least one and possibly multiple communications with President Trump on January 6th.”

Thompson told Jordan in December the panel also wanted to ask him questions involving meetings he may have had “with White House officials and the then-President in November and December 2020, and early January 2021, about strategies for overturning the results of the 2020 election.”  

The panel requested to talk to Biggs and Brooks earlier this month.

The panel told Biggs it wanted to question him about his involvement in planning the rally for Jan. 6 as well as “efforts to persuade state legislators and officials that the 2020 election was stolen and/or to seek assistance from those individuals in President Trump’s efforts to overturn the election.”

Thompson and the committee’s vice chair, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., also told Biggs the panel has information from former White House personnel about “an effort by certain House Republicans after January 6th to seek a presidential pardon for activities taken in connection with President Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Your name was identified as a potential participant in that effort,” the letter said.  

Biggs responded then that he would “not be participating in the illegitimate and Democrat-sympathizing House Jan. 6 committee panel.”

The committee told Brooks, a former top Trump ally who had a recent falling out with the former president after he withdrew his endorsement of Brooks in the Alabama Senate race, about the congressman’s public comments that Trump had “asked me to rescind the 2020 elections” and  “immediately put President Trump back in the White House.”

Brooks said at the time that “I wouldn’t help (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi and Liz Cheney cross the street. I’m certainly not going to help them and their Witch Hunt Committee. If they want to talk, they can send me a subpoena, which I will fight.”

House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., said Thursday that she believed a House committee had never subpoenaed a sitting member of Congress in her nearly 30 years of service.

“I’ve never seen it before,” she told NBC News.

The subpoenas come because the panel is believed to be within the closing phases of its investigation. The committee is scheduled to carry a collection of hearings on the probe in June.

Kyle Stewart and Kate Santaliz contributed.

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