House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and four other GOP lawmakers allied with former President Donald Trump have been subpoenaed by the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, it said Thursday. the panel.
The move marked the first time the bipartisan inquiry has issued subpoenas to sitting members of Congress. The dramatic step came less than a month before the House committee planned to launch a series of public hearings.
Besides McCarthy, the other Republican House members whose testimony is sought under subpoena are Representatives Jim Jordan of Ohio, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Mo Brooks of Alabama and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania.
The five Republicans previously refused panel requests to voluntarily cooperate with the investigation. In letters Thursday, the committee tells each of the lawmakers, “You have refused voluntary cooperation, and we have no choice but to issue you a subpoena.”
“The select 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,” said committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss , in a press release. .
“Prior to holding our hearings next month, we wanted to offer members the opportunity to voluntarily discuss these issues with the committee. Unfortunately, those receiving subpoenas today have declined and we are forced to take this action. to help ensure the committee finds out the facts about Jan. 6,” Thompson said.
The committee is investigating the events of January 6, 2021, when a violent mob of Trump supporters broke through police lines and stormed into the Capitol building. The riot forced lawmakers from their chambers and temporarily prevented Congress from confirming President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory over Trump.
McCarthy in January declined the committee’s request to provide information relating to the investigation, saying he had “nothing more to add”. The House Minority Leader, who hopes to become Speaker of the House after the midterm elections, initially said Trump was responsible for the riot but has since resumed vocal support for Trump.
Days after the Capitol riot, McCarthy was recorded telling Republicans he would ask Trump to step down as president and privately feared that inflammatory comments from his GOP colleagues could incite more violence, according to audio tapes leaked last month.
Spokespersons for the five lawmakers did not immediately respond to NBC News’ requests for comment.
McCarthy “was in communication with President Trump before, during and after the Jan. 6 attack,” according to the committee. He was also in contact with White House staff during the attack and discussed the Capitol with them before and after the riot, the panel said.
McCarthy also “claimed to have had a discussion with the President immediately following the attack in which President Trump admitted some guilt for the attack,” the panel said.
The committee said Perry “was directly involved in efforts to corrupt the Justice Department and install Jeffrey Clark,” a DOJ official at the time, as acting attorney general in January 2021. Clark said was accused of trying to implicate the DOJ in Trump’s efforts. to challenge the election results.
Perry also “had various communications with the White House on a number of matters relevant to the select committee’s investigation, including allegations that Dominion voting machines had been tampered with,” according to the panel’s press release. .
The committee also noted that Jordan had been in communication with Trump on Jan. 6 and participated in meetings on “strategies to cancel the 2020 election” in the weeks leading up to the riot.
Less than two weeks before issuing the final subpoenas, the committee sent letters to Brooks, Biggs and GOP Rep. Ronny Jackson of Texas, asking for their willing cooperation. Investigators said they wanted to ask Biggs about his involvement in planning the events leading up to the riot and wanted to discuss Brooks’ claim that “Trump asked me to void the election of 2020”.
All three refused. Brooks vowed to fight a subpoena if it came.