Washington — The House select committee investigating theissued subpoenas Thursday to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and four other House Republicans, a significant escalation in its efforts to obtain information from GOP lawmakers as part of its probe.
In addition to McCarthy, the select committee subpoenaed Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Andy Biggs of Arizona for testimony. The demand from the panel is likely to spark a legal fight, as others who have been called to testify before lawmakers, such as former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, haveto challenge subpoenas issued by House investigators.
The panel asked the Republican lawmakers for their voluntary cooperation with their investigation into January 6 riots, but theyto provide information to its members. Brooks, who spoke at the rally outside the White House hours before the Capitol attack, said earlier this month that while he would have testified voluntarily at some point in the past, he would if subpoenaed and vowed to fight such a demand.
While the select committee has issued subpoenas for McCarthy, Jordan, Brooks, Perry and Biggs, it has also asked GOP Rep. Ronny Jackson to participate in voluntary meetings with investigators. It’s unclear whether the panel will subpoena Jackson in the future.
The panel told Jordan and Brooks in earlier requests for information they would like to discuss conversations the two had with former President Donald Trump regarding his efforts to overturn the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. Investigatorsplayed an “important role” in efforts to install former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark as acting attorney general, and found the Pennsylvania Republican communicated with Meadows about Clark through text messages and Signal, an encrypted messaging app.
The committee has also said it wants information from McCarthy about his conversations in the days after the January 6 attack. In a conference call with Republican leaders, McCarthy said the then-president had acknowledged bearing some blame for the assault,.
“He told me he does have some responsibility for what happened. And he needs to acknowledge that,” the top House Republican said.
McCarthy said in another leaked call that he was considering asking Trump to resign.
“The only discussion I would have with him is that I think this will pass, and it would be my recommendation you should resign,” heRep. Liz Cheney in a January 10, 2021, call, referring to an impeachment resolution crafted by House Democrats. Cheney is one of two Republicans on the January 6 committee and serves as vice chair.
The committee has signaled for weeks that it could issue subpoenas if the congressmen didn’t voluntarily comply with their requests. Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, the other Republican on the panel,earlier this month that the committee would “ultimately [do] whatever we can do to get that information” from members.
“We’ve requested information from various members. In terms of whether we move forward with a subpoena, [that] is going to be both a strategic, tactical decision and a question of whether or not, you know, we can do that and get the information in time,” Kinzinger said in the May 1 interview.
In the course of its investigation into the January 6 insurrection and events surrounding it, the committee has issued more than 90 subpoenas to a wide range of former White House aides, allies of Trump, former campaign officials, organizers of the rallies protesting the results of the 2020 election and far-right extremist groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers.
A number of prospective witnesses have unsuccessfully tried to nullify the subpoenas in federal court. Most recently, a U.S. district judge in Washingtonby the Republican National Committee to block a subpoena from the select committee to its email fundraising vendor, finding the committee was seeking information relevant to its investigation.
The House has alsoto hold Meadows, and former White House top aides Dan Scavino, Peter Navarro and in contempt of Congress after they failed to comply with subpoenas. Bannon was in November for refusing to appear for a deposition and turn over documents, and has .
Some members of Trump’s family, meanwhile, have spoken to House investigators, including, and Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law.
Much of the committee’s work thus far has been conducted behind closed doors, with lawmakers and staff conducting more than 900 interviews and depositions and receiving more than 100,000 documents in the course of their probe. But the panel’s examination of the January 6 assault will enter its public phase next month, holding abeginning June 9.