The January 6 Committee has issued subpoenas to five GOP lawmakers, marking a sharp escalation in the Democrat-dominated probe.
The subpoenas, issued to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Scott Perry (R-Pa.), and Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), are the first subpoenas that the committee has issued to sitting members of Congress.
Since 2021 the committee, formed by a party-line vote and composed mostly of Democrats, has sought to prove that the Capitol breach during the Jan. 6, 2021, “Stop the Steal” protest was the result of an intentional plot by high-level Republicans to overthrow the United States government.
Thus far, the committee has shown no conclusive proof of any such plot.
Since its formation, the commission has been controversial with Republicans, who have described it as little more than a “political witch hunt” directed against President Donald Trump and his political allies.
Initially, McCarthy tried to place Jordan on the committee as the GOP ranking member. But Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) refused, citing “the impact [the appointment] may have on the integrity of the investigation.” Instead, she placed Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) as the ranking member; only one other Republican, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) serves on the commission.
According to several Republicans asked about the subpoenas, they were leaked to other media outlets before the lawmakers themselves had received them.
Asked about the subpoena moments after it was unveiled, McCarthy told a reporter, “I have not seen this subpoena. I guess they sent it to you guys before they send it to me.”
“Look, my view on the committee has not changed,” he continued. “They’re not conducting legitimate investigation. It seems as though they just want to go after their political opponents. But the one thing that has changed in America [is] hyperinflation that we haven’t seen since the 70s. On secure border gas prices, and now we don’t have baby formula.”
Perry also told the Epoch Times that he had not received the subpoenas when the story broke.
“That this illegitimate body leaked their latest charade to the media ahead of contacting targeted Members is proof positive once again that this political witch hunt is about fabricating headlines and distracting Americans from their abysmal record of running America into the ground,” Perry said of the subpoena.
In a Twitter thread, Biggs decried the subpoena as “pure political theater.”
“The subpoenas and news of their issuance were leaked to the media before the impacted Members,” Biggs said. “The January 6 Committee’s ongoing, baseless witch hunt is nothing more than an effort to distract the American people from the Democrats’ and Biden’s disastrous leadership.”
Though today’s subpoenas are the first that the commission has issued against sitting lawmakers, the group has made several attempts to obtain testimony and documents from the Republicans listed.
Beginning in December 2021, with few leads backing the claim that the Jan. 6 rally constituted an insurrection, the committee began to turn its eyes inward, calling for voluntary cooperation by several sitting members of Congress.
Perry was the first to receive such a request. He quickly refused, calling the committee “illegitimate.”
“I stand with immense respect for our Constitution, the Rule of Law, and the Americans I represent who know that this entity is illegitimate, and not duly constituted under the rules of the US House of Representatives,” Perry said in a Twitter thread.
Also in December, Jordan became the second Republican to be targeted by the committee.
Like Perry, Jordan refused, saying, “The American people are tired of Democrats’ nonstop investigations and partisan witch hunts. Your letter of December 22, 2021, unfortunately, continues this Democrat obsession. It amounts to an unprecedented and inappropriate demand to examine the basis for a colleague’s decision on a particular matter pending before the House of Representatives.
“This request is far outside the bounds of any legitimate inquiry, violates core Constitutional principles, and would serve to further erode legislative norms.”
It remains unclear whether the lawmakers will comply with the subpoenas.
There is little historical precedent for Congress to issue a subpoena against its own members, so the issue will likely face the courts before the congressmen are required to comply.
Jordan, Brooks, and Biggs could not be reached for comment by press time.
Katabella Roberts contributed to this report.