Kevin McCarthy refuses to comply with January 6 committee subpoena as it stands and issues demands

McCarthy’s attorney, Elliot S. Berke, criticized the committee from all angles, saying the subpoenas it issued to lawmakers were neither constitutional nor valid because they failed to meet certain legal requirements.

The Republican leader’s argument that the committee is not legal or constitutionally valid echoes those advanced by a number of subpoena targets who have attempted to make a legal claim that they do not need to comply with. The judges rejected this argument.

U.S. District Court Judge Tim Kelly said in a recent case involving the request from the Republican National Committee’s records committee and one of its vendors that the request was well within its scope as a legislative body.

In addition to McCarthy, the panel subpoenaed four other House Republicans: GOP Representatives Jim Jordan of Ohio, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Mo Brooks of Alabama and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania. Jordan, Biggs and Perry also pushed back against subpoenas the committee issued to them.

Jan. 6 committee spokesman Tim Mulvey said in a statement Friday that “McCarthy and other members who have received subpoenas are hiding behind debunked arguments and baseless demands for special treatment.”

“Claims challenging the composition of the select committee and the legitimacy of its subpoenas have repeatedly failed in court. The select committee interviewed more than a thousand people, and the vast majority of witnesses who were subpoenaed to appear have complied with the law,” Mulvey said, adding that the panel chair will formally respond “in the coming days” to those who have not complied.

GOP Rep. Jim Jordan Challenges Constitutionality of Jan. 6 Committee Subpoena, Releases List of Demands

In the letter, Berke focused specifically on the composition of the committee, saying it was partisan in nature and lacked the necessary input from House Republicans to issue subpoenas to members of Congress.

While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected McCarthy’s selection of Jordan and GOP Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana to serve on the committee, she reportedly accepted the Republican leader’s other three picks. Instead, McCarthy withdrew the rest of its proposed members from consideration. Pelosi ultimately chose GOP representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois to sit on the panel.

Narrowing down on the committee’s investigative focus, Berke accused the committee of using the federal government to “attack perceived political rivals” and warned that its actions could “open Pandora’s box and damn this institution to harm.” partisan “investigations”.

McCarthy, he said, has no new information to offer the committee, and he suggested the panel ask Cheney, who served as GOP conference chair during the period the committee wishes to discuss with McCarthy. , if he wants to know more about the House Republican leadership. .

McCarthy and Cheney became public political rivals when the Republican leader backed a campaign to oust the Wyoming Republican from her leadership role because she openly criticized former President Donald Trump for the role he played in the attack.

McCarthy’s attorney in the letter also went so far as to say that some panel members are going too far in claiming to act as law enforcement. The panel has made it clear that its role is not to prosecute crimes, but simply to refer any crimes its investigation uncovers, if any, to the Department of Justice.

“In its composition, conduct, press releases, public statements, interviews and correspondence, the select committee clearly does not act within the bounds of any legislative purpose,” Berke wrote. “His sole purpose seems to be to try to score political points or harm his political opponents – acting like the Democratic congressional campaign committee one day and the Justice Department the next.”

Berke outlined McCarthy’s demands he wants to meet before considering how to move forward with the subpoena. These include: describing the topics and materials the panel plans to use in a deposition, providing the legal and constitutional rationale for both, naming the ranking minority member who was consulted before issuing subpoenas to appear to Republican lawmakers and who the ranking minority member and counsel would be in a deposition and would limit any deposition to one hour per side, alternating between minority and majority counsel.

In its initial letter to McCarthy in January seeking his voluntary cooperation, the panel made it clear that it wanted to ask him about his communications with Trump, White House staff and others in the week following the attack. of January 6, “particularly regarding President Trump’s state of mind at that time.”

The committee also wanted to understand how McCarthy’s public comments since the attack had shifted from criticism of Trump to his defense and wondered if Trump pressured him to change his tone when the couple met in late January 2021. .

Since the panel’s letter to McCarthy, new audio has revealed that in the days following the insurgency, the minority leader considered asking Trump to step down. Audio also revealed that McCarthy told Republican lawmakers on a private conference call that Trump admitted to having some responsibility for the deadly attack.

The panel first contacted Jordan, one of Trump’s staunchest allies on Capitol Hill, in December to learn more about communications he had with Trump on Jan. 6 and with Trump allies who were stationed in the Hotel Willard’s war room in the days leading up to it. to attack.

This story was updated with additional details on Friday.

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