The Jan. 6 committee has subpoenaed five Republican House members, including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA).
The committee announced Thursday that McCarthy and Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Jim Jordan of Ohio, and Mo Brooks of Alabama were told to appear to discuss their alleged involvement with the Capitol riot, after they initially refused.
“The Select Committee has learned that several of our colleagues have information relevant to our investigation into the attack on January 6th and the events leading up to it," Chairman Bennie Thompson said in a statement. "Before we hold our hearings next month, we wished to provide members the opportunity to discuss these matters with the committee voluntarily. Regrettably, the individuals receiving subpoenas today have refused and we’re forced to take this step to help ensure the committee uncovers facts concerning January 6th. We urge our colleagues to comply with the law, do their patriotic duty, and cooperate with our investigation as hundreds of other witnesses have done.”
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McCarthy said shortly after the announcement that he had not been informed of the subpoena and that he questioned the committee's motivation.
"I have not seen the subpoena. I guess they sent it to you guys before they sent it to me," he told the Washington Examiner while walking to votes Thursday afternoon. "Look, my view on the committee has not changed. They're not conducting a legitimate investigation. It seems as though they just want to go after their political opponents."
Perry told the Washington Examiner that he believed the decision to subpoena him "was all for headlines and sensationalism."
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (IL), one of only two Republicans on the committee, said the subpoenas are necessary for the committee's work.
"The hope is obviously that they come in and testify," he told the Washington Examiner. "We're not out to get them, we just need information."
On Thursday, Jordan continued to express reluctance about testifying.
"We sent a letter out in early January that laid out all our concerns, like the one where they took evidence, altered it, and lied to the country about it. So none of our concerns — actually we have more concerns now," Jordan said.
Perry released a statement agreeing with some of his colleagues.
That this illegitimate body leaked their latest charade to the media ahead of contacting targeted Members is proof once again that this political witch hunt is about fabricating headlines and distracting Americans from their abysmal record of running America into the ground.— RepScottPerry (@RepScottPerry) May 12, 2022
The committee sent McCarthy a letter in January asking for his voluntary cooperation to discuss his conversations with former President Donald Trump before and after the riot, which he declined to give. The subpoena demands that he appear before the committee on May 31 or potentially be held in contempt of Congress and liable to prosecution. The other lawmakers named in this batch of subpoenas are also asked to appear at the end of the month.
In January, McCarthy said that his correspondence with Trump in early January 2021 was not enough to warrant testifying.
“My conversation was very short, advising the president of what was happening here,” McCarthy said in January about his phone call with Trump as the riot unfolded. “There is nothing that I can provide the Jan. 6 committee for legislation that they're moving forward. There is nothing in that realm. It is pure politics.”
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Audio leaked by the New York Times last month showed McCarthy floating a call for Trump to resign in the Jan. 6 aftermath, which led to him taking fire from his party's Trump hard-liners. The leader at first denied the reports until the audio backed the journalists' claims.
The House voted in April to hold former Trump aides Dan Scavino and Peter Navarro in contempt after they refused to comply with the investigation and last year did the same to Steve Bannon. The Department of Justice has only filed charges against Bannon, whose trial is set for July.