The House Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed four GOP lawmakers and White House chief of staff John Kelly, asking them to appear before the committee on Jan. 16 for a closed-door interview about Russia’s interference in US elections.
The “trump news” is a story that has been making headlines, as the January 6th committee subpoenas Kevin McCarthy, 4 other GOP lawmakers close to Trump.
Washington, D.C. — The House select committee investigating the attack on the US Capitol on January 6 filed subpoenas to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and four other House Republicans on Thursday, marking a major step forward in the investigation’s attempts to acquire evidence from GOP members.
McCarthy was joined by Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, and Andy Biggs of Arizona, who were all summoned by the select committee. Others who have been invited to appear before Congress, such as former White House top of staff Mark Meadows, have gone to court to contest subpoenas issued by House investigators.
Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, claimed the GOP legislators had information pertinent to the probe and that the panel was obliged to issue the subpoenas after they refused to engage freely.
In a statement, he added, “We ask our colleagues to follow the law, perform their patriotic duty, and help with our inquiry as hundreds of other witnesses have done.”
If the five Republicans refuse to comply with the subpoenas, Thompson said the committee might propose contempt charges, as it has in the past. Members have not yet considered this option. The panel might potentially bring the case to the House Ethics Committee or look into other civil remedies, he said, adding that the committee is “taking it one step at a time” and hoping that members follow through on their subpoenas.
On January 4, 2019, President Trump talks in the Rose Garden of the White House with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Getty Pictures
The panel requested Republican legislators’ voluntary participation in their probe into the disturbances on January 6, but they refused to disclose information to the panel’s members. Brooks, who appeared at a demonstration outside the White House hours before the Capitol assault, said earlier this month that although he would have testified freely in the past, he would only do so if compelled, and that he would resist any such demand.
While McCarthy, Jordan, Brooks, Perry, and Biggs have been served with subpoenas, the select committee has also requested GOP Rep. Ronny Jackson to attend voluntary talks with investigators. It’s unclear if the panel will issue a subsequent subpoena to Jackson.
In prior requests for material, the panel notified Jordan and Brooks that they wanted to talk about talks the two had with former President Donald Trump about his attempts to change the result of the 2020 presidential election. Investigators think Perry played a “significant role” in the campaign to install former Justice Department employee Jeffrey Clark as acting attorney general, and they discovered that Perry and Meadows spoke about Clark through text messages and Signal, an encrypted communications software.
Biggs, according to the committee, attended White House and remote meetings on January 6 plans, including on Vice President Mike Pence’s effort to reject electoral votes from crucial battleground states Trump lost in the 2020 presidential election. Biggs was also engaged in planning to send demonstrators to Washington on January 6, when Congress were meeting for a joint session to tally state electoral votes and confirm President Biden’s victory, according to the panel. It also has information about Biggs’ alleged efforts to persuade state officials that the 2020 election was rigged in order to enlist their assistance in Trump’s efforts to overturn the results, and former White House staff identified Biggs as a possible candidate for a presidential pardon for activities related to Trump’s election-night campaign.
McCarthy was in communication with Trump “before, during, and after” the January 6 incident, according to the panel, and it wants to know about his interactions with colleagues legislators in the days after the attack. According to newly disclosed recordings from a conference call with Republican leaders, McCarthy claimed that the then-president admitted some responsibility for the attack.
“He admitted that he bears some responsibility for what occurred. And he has to recognize that “According to the top House Republican,
McCarthy indicated he was contemplating asking Trump to quit in another leaked conversation.
“The only talk I would have with him is that I believe this will pass, and it would be my advice that you resign,” he informed Rep. Liz Cheney over the phone on January 10, 2021, alluding to a House Democratic impeachment resolution. Cheney is vice chair of the January 6 committee and one of two Republicans on it.
Cheney said the decision to subpoena sitting members of Congress was “a reflection of how significant and serious the inquiry is, and how deadly the assault on the Capitol was” at the Capitol on Thursday.
“We invited these five people to come in and meet with us, and they’ve refused, despite the fact that they have a responsibility,” the Wyoming chevalier stated. “They have key knowledge regarding the assault that we require for the inquiry,” said the official.
The committee has been hinting for weeks that if the lawmakers don’t willingly cooperate with its demands, it would issue subpoenas. Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, the committee’s other Republican, said earlier this month on “Face the Nation” that the committee will “ultimately [do] everything we can to collect that information” from members.
“We’ve asked numerous members for information. Whether or whether we proceed with a subpoena will be a strategic, tactical choice as well as an issue of whether or not we can do so and collect the material in a timely manner “In a May 1 interview, Kinzinger said.
The committee members were “very aware” of “the consequences” of subpoenaing members of Congress, Kinzinger said Thursday, but “what transpired on January 6 was unprecedented.”
McCarthy, Perry, and Brooks said that they had not yet received the subpoenas when the committee announced them, but all condemned their colleagues’ actions.
The demands are “all about diverting America from their horrible record of driving America into the ground,” Perry told reporters, while McCarthy said the committee is “not conducting a genuine inquiry.” Brooks stated in a statement that his willingness to cooperate is contingent on a number of variables, including whether his testimony would be made public, whether inquiries will be confined to events related to the January 6 assault, and who will be asking him. The Alabama Republican also said that he intends to talk with the other Republicans targeted by the committee.
The committee has issued more than 90 subpoenas to a wide range of former White House aides, Trump allies, former campaign officials, organizers of rallies protesting the 2020 election results, and far-right extremist groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers as part of its investigation into the January 6 insurgency and events surrounding it.
A number of potential witnesses have moved unsuccessfully in federal court to have the subpoenas revoked. The Republican National Committee’s effort to quash a subpoena from the select committee to its email fundraising provider was recently dismissed by a US district judge in Washington, who said the committee was seeking material pertinent to its inquiry.
Meadows, as well as former White House senior advisers Dan Scavino, Peter Navarro, and Steve Bannon, have been found in contempt of Congress after failing to comply with subpoenas. Bannon was charged with refusing to attend for a deposition and give over papers by a federal grand jury in November, and he has pleaded not guilty.
Meanwhile, members of Trump’s family, including Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, have testified to House investigators.
Much of the committee’s work has been done behind closed doors so far, with legislators and staff conducting over 900 interviews and depositions and obtaining over 100,000 documents as part of their investigation. However, the panel’s investigation into the January 6 attack will become public next month, with eight sessions starting June 9.
Ellis Kim and Zak Hudak contributed to this report.
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