Jan. 6 Committee Subpoenas 5 Republicans, Including Speaker Kevin McCarthy: 'Left with No Choice'

Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson announced this week that the select committee had subpoenaed Republican Reps. Kevin McCarthy, Scott Perry, Jim Jordan, Andy Biggs, and Mo Brooks

Kevin McCarthy
Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The bipartisan House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol and former President Donald Trump's alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 election results has subpoenaed five House Republicans — including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

In a statement issued Thursday, Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson announced that the select committee had subpoenaed Republican Reps. Kevin McCarthy, Scott Perry, Jim Jordan, Andy Biggs, and Mo Brooks.

The committee is seeking deposition testimony as part of its investigation into the events of Jan. 6, 2021, when a group of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol building, disrupting the joint session of Congress assembled to formalize then President-elect Joe Biden's victory.

Thompson said in his statement that the committee had previously invited all five lawmakers to appear voluntarily, because it has "reason to believe that they have relevant knowledge of the events on or leading up to January 6th and activities related to the transfer of power."

"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," Thompson said. "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."

In a letter sent to McCarthy, Thompson noted that he had "declined voluntary cooperation, and we are left with no choice but to issue you this subpoena."

The committee said in its release that McCarthy was "in communication with President Trump before, during, and after the attack on January 6th ... [and] also claimed to have had a discussion with the President in the immediate aftermath of the attack during which President Trump admitted some culpability for the attack."

In recent months, McCarthy has publicly defended the former president. But privately, in audio obtained by the The New York Times, McCarthy said he was "seriously thinking" of talking to Trump about resigning from the presidency, in the immediate aftermath of the riots.

"I'm seriously thinking of having that conversation with him tonight," McCarthy says in the clip, which was recorded Jan. 10, 2021, during a conversation between he and Republican Rep. Liz Cheney. "From what I know of him — I mean, you guys know him too — do you think he would ever back away?"

Elsewhere in the clip, McCarthy can be heard saying, "I've had it with this guy," speaking of Trump.

The recording surfaced just hours after McCarthy took to Twitter to deny that he had ever said he would urge Trump to resign, in response to reporting by Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns, who wrote the book This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America's Future.

Others subpoenaed by the committee this week include Rep. Jim Jordan, who the committee claimed "participated in meetings and discussions throughout late 2020 and early 2021 about strategies for overturning the 2020 election."

Rep. Mo Brooks was also subpoenaed and, as the committee said in its statement, spoke at the rally held immediately prior to the Capitol attack, "encouraging rioters to 'start taking down names and kicking ass.' "

The Committee said it also has evidence that Brooks's staff "met with members of Vice President Pence's staff before January 6th and conveyed the view that the Vice President does not have authority to unilaterally refuse to count certified electoral votes."

The committee has so far recommended charges for four witnesses, Steve Bannon, Mark Meadows, Dan Scavino and Peter Navarro — all of whom failed to comply with its subpoenas and are close contacts of the former president. Bannon was later indicted by a federal grand jury on contempt of Congress charges; Meadows has not been charged but the House followed the committee's lead in voting to hold Trump's former chief of staff in contempt.

The committee is now reportedly finalizing its witness list ahead of public hearings that will begin in June.

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