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January 6 Committee Orders Kevin McCarthy and Republicans to Testify

Intelligencer logo Intelligencer 5/12/2022 Matt Stieb
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images © Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol took a major step Thursday, issuing a subpoena to Kevin McCarthy for the Republican House minority leader’s testimony after he refused to voluntarily sit with the panel. Investigators are particularly interested in McCarthy’s phone call with Donald Trump during the riot, which McCarthy previously described as “very heated.” According to testimony during Trump’s subsequent impeachment trial, the then-president told McCarthy the mob was justified in its anger toward Congress for refusing to overturn the election and keep Trump in power.

The committee subpoenaed four more noncooperative Republican representatives — Jim Jordan, Mo Brooks, Andy Biggs, and Scott Perry — to get a sense of their communications during the insurrection and their efforts to contest the 2020 election for Trump. According to letters sent to the other four representatives, the committee wants to find out about Jordan’s messages to Trump on January 6, Brooks’s claim in March that Trump asked him after the election to “rescind” its results, Biggs’s alleged effort to secure pardons for lawmakers involved in attempts to overturn the election, and Perry’s plan to replace Trump’s acting attorney general with someone who would aid the coup effort.

If the members of Congress refuse to comply, they could be held in contempt of Congress, as has happened with Trump aides including Steve Bannon, who was criminally charged by the Justice Department.

Past subpoenas from the committee have revealed some startling details about the plot to overturn the election. After former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows handed over his communications involving the attack and attempts to contest the election, it emerged that conservative activist Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, was pushing QAnon theories on Meadows to support overturning the election.

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