U.S. House investigators said on Thursday they had issued subpoenas to House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and four other Republican lawmakers in connection with their investigation into the violent January 6 uprising. , an extraordinary step that has little precedent and is sure to further inflame partisan tensions over the 2021 attack.
January 6 panel subpoenas for McCarthy and Republican Representatives Jim Jordan of Ohio, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Andy Biggs of Arizona and Mo Brooks of Alabama come as investigation draws to a close and that the panel is preparing for a series of public hearings this summer.
The committee investigated McCarthy’s conversations with then-US President Donald Trump on the day of the attack and meetings the other four lawmakers had with the White House as Trump and his aides conspired to undo his defeat. They have been debating for months whether to issue the subpoenas.
Congressional subpoenas for sitting members of the US Congress, especially for a party leader, are nearly unprecedented in decades. The panel had previously requested the five men’s voluntary cooperation, along with a handful of other Republican lawmakers, but all declined to speak with the panel.
“These members include those who participated in meetings at the White House, those who had direct conversations with President Trump before and during the attack on Capitol Hill, and those who participated in the planning and coordination of certain activities on and before January 6,” the committee said in announcing the subpoenas.
McCarthy acknowledged speaking with Trump on Jan. 6, 2021, which happened as Trump supporters beat up police outside the Capitol and forced their way into the building. But he didn’t share many details. The committee requested information about his conversations with Trump “before, during and after” the riot.
McCarthy walked into the House after the rioters were cleared and said in a forceful speech that Trump ‘bears responsibility’ for the attack and that it was the ‘sadest day I’ve ever had in Congress – even as he joined 138 other House Republicans in voting to reject the election results.
The Republican leader quickly reconciled with Trump, visiting him in Florida and rallying House Republicans to vote against investigations into the attack.