January 6 committee subpoenas McCarthy, 4 others

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12 May 2022, 4:43 pm

January 6 committee subpoenas 5 GOP lawmakers close to Trump, including McCarthy

The House select committee investigating the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol issued 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, have turned to the courts to challenge subpoenas issued by House investigators.

Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi, said the GOP lawmakers have information relevant to its investigation, and the panel was forced to issue the subpoenas after they rebuffed the opportunity to participate voluntarily.

If the five Republicans defy the subpoenas, Thompson said the committee could recommend contempt charges, as it has done for others, though members have not discussed that step. The panel could also make a referral to the House Ethics Committee or explore other civil options, he said, adding the committee is "taking it one step at a time" and hopes lawmakers comply with their subpoenas.

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. Investigators believe Perry played 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 believes Biggs participated in meetings at the White House and remotely regarding planning for January 6, including on the strategy for Vice President Mike Pence to reject electoral votes from key battleground states Trump lost in the 2020 presidential election. The panel also said it learned Biggs was involved in plans to bring protesters to Washington on January 6, when lawmakers were convening for a joint session to count state electoral votes and reaffirm President Biden's win. Additionally, it has information about Biggs' alleged efforts to convince state officials the 2020 election was stolen and to seek their help with Trump's efforts to overturn the results, and former White House staff identified Biggs as potentially involved in effort to seek a presidential pardon for activities tied to Trump's campaign to reverse the election outcome.

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