The House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol has subpoenaed five Republican lawmakers to learn about their conversations with Donald Trump and other information they have about the day.
The summons includes House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calfornia along with GOP Reps. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Andy Biggs of Arizona, and Mo Brooks of Alabama.
The lawmakers either participated in meetings at the White House, had direct conversations with President Trump leading up to and during the attack, or were involved in the planning and coordination of certain activities on and before January 6th, the committee said in a statement.
‘The committee just found that before we close the loop on our investigation, the members should come in should they choose and offer a response to the information we found,’ Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the panel, told reporters on Capitol Hill.
If any of the lawmakers refuse, the Democratic-controlled House could vote to hold them in contempt of Congress. From there, the Justice Department would decide whether or not to formally pursue charges.
‘I have not seen this subpoena. I guess they sent it to you guys before they send it to me,’ McCarthy told reporters on Capitol Hill. ‘Look, my view on the committee has not changed. They’re not conducting legitimate investigation. That seems as though they just want to go after their political opponents.’
He didn’t answer questions on whether he would comply with it.
Rep. Biggs said it was a ‘witch hunt.’
‘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,’ he tweeted.
House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy was subpoenaed by the committee investigating January 6th insurrection at Capitol – reporters in the Capitol surround him to ask about the news
The panel also has subpoenaed Rep. Jim Jordan (above), a close Trump ally
Committee wants to know about lawmakers’ conversations with Donald Trump – above then President Trump at the January 6 rally outside the White House
All five had been asked previously – and refused – to voluntarily testify before the panel.
‘We’re forced to take this step,’ the Jan. 6 panel said of the subpoenaes.
The move is a dramatic escalation in the committee’s investigation and follow weeks of internal debate on whether to try to force Republicans to testify behind closed doors.
Congressional subpoenas for sitting members of Congress, especially for a party leader, are almost without precedent.
They come as the panel is preparing for a series of public hearings this June.
Rep. Perry said the subpoenaes were sent for ‘headlines.
‘This is all for headlines and sensationalization,’ he said. ‘The fact that they send it to the press before they send it to the members just proof it’s all about headlines.’
McCarthy has admitted to speaking with Trump on the day MAGA supporters stormed the Capitol to try and stop the certification of the 2020 election. But he’s offered few details of that conversation.
Jordan also spoke with Trump. He is a close ally of the former president and was deeply involved in efforts to contest the 2020 election results.
Perry has continuously disputed the validity of Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania.
The panel previously said it wants to discuss Perry’s attempted effort to install former Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark as acting attorney general when the DOJ resisted Trump’s false claims of voter fraud.
It also said it believed Perry was communicating with Mark Meadows, who was then the White House chief of staff, via an encrypted app, Signal.
In Biggs’ case, the committee wants to know about his participation ‘in certain planning meetings’ with the White House before Jan. 6th. They also want to know about his conversations about having former Vice President Mike Pence ‘unilaterally refuse’ to accept votes certified states.
The committee’s interest in Biggs is on the heels of an April 22 court filing in which lawmakers accused him of being an active participant in White House meetings after the 2020 election, where he and other Republicans brainstormed ways to keep Trump in power. Biggs is also accused of encouraging protesters to come to Washington on Jan. 6 as well as persuading state legislators and officials that the election was stolen.
The panel wants to ask Brooks about his recent comments following a spat with Trump after the former president pulled back his endorsement. Brooks said Trump ‘asked me to rescind the election of 2020’ weeks before leaving office.
Brooks spoke at the Jan. 6th rally on the Ellipse, where he famously said: ‘Today is the day American patriots start down names and kicking ass.’ He also came up on a leaked House leadership call where leaders fretted about lawmakers calling out fellow members of the conference.
The committe also has expressed an interest in talking to Republican Rep. Ronnie Jackson of Texas but he was not among those subpoenaed. Jackson served as Trump’s personal physician and has been an ardent defender of the former president.