The House Jan. 6 Committee issued subpoenas on Thursday to five Republican members of Congress, including Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
All five of the reps had received letters requesting their voluntary cooperation over the past several months. The subpoenas do not provide extensive new factual details, and only note that the recipients had refused to cooperate with the probe.
“Unfortunately, you declined voluntary cooperation, and we are left with no choice but to issue you this subpoena,” each letter reads.
In addition to McCarthy, Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Scott Perry (R-PA), and Andy Biggs (R-AZ) received the subpoenas.
These subpoenas are the first issued by the committee to fellow members of Congress. Issuing a congressional subpoena to a member of the body is a rare move that highlights the existential peril in which the Capitol insurrection placed the country.
It’s an escalation that marks the urgency of the investigation, and the extent to which President Trump’s effort to subvert the transfer of power infected the upper levels of American government. Several House members were deeply involved in efforts to deny Joe Biden the presidency after winning both the electoral college and popular votes.
Rep. Brooks, for example, attempted to persuade Vice President Pence to unilaterally throw out elector slates from states that Trump was unhappy to have lost. Rep. Perry worked to install Jeff Clark, an assistant attorney general on environmental matters, as acting attorney general in an eleventh hour bid to have the DOJ intervene on Trump’s behalf to block Biden’s win.
“We urge our colleagues to comply with the law, do their patriotic duty and cooperate with our investigation,” Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), committee co-chair, said in a statement.
McCarthy said in January that he would refuse to comply with a voluntary request that he had received from the panel. The committee said that it was interested in conversations that he held with President Trump on the day of the insurrection, during which he supposedly attempted to persuade the former president to call off the attack.
The House minority leader, recordings released in April show, was on the verge of supporting Trump’s removal in the immediate aftermath of the insurrection. Within weeks, he repaired his bonds with Trump, and has taken to denouncing the committee as a witch hunt.
Jordan and Biggs both spoke with Trump before, during, and after the insurrection itself. Jordan made the question of whether – and how many times – he spoke to Trump on Jan. 6 itself a mystery by repeatedly offering different answers to the question. Biggs tried to persuade state officials to ratify claims of voter fraud and, the committee says, may have been involved in an effort to seek a pardon for activities relating to the insurrection.
But the list of five is as significant for who remains left out.
Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX) received a letter, along with Biggs and Brooks, from the panel last week. He is the only one of the three not to be subpoenaed.
Others, like Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-AL) and Lauren Boebert (R-CO), played high-profile roles in spreading bonkers claims about voter fraud. Neither appear on the list, though Rep. Greene, along with other members like Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) reportedly helped plan the objections in Congress on Jan. 6.