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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in a letter through his counsel Friday signaled that he won’t comply with a subpoena from the Jan. 6 Committee subpoena and questioned the committee’s authority to mandate testimony.
McCarthy’s attorney Elliot Berke in the letter laid out several objections to the committee’s subpoena, including that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., didn’t appoint the GOP members of the committee in consultation with McCarthy, R-Calif.
The committee issued subpoenas to McCarthy and several other Republican lawmakers earlier this month.
Berke also says the committee doesn’t have a proper legislative purpose, citing comments by committee members who say they plan to get to the bottom of the story of what happened on Jan. 6.
“In composition, in conduct, in press releases, public statements, interviews, and correspondence, the Select Committee is clearly not acting within the confines of any legislative purpose,” Berke says. “In light of the above-described deficiencies, it is unclear how the Select Committee believes it is operating within the bounds of law or even within the confines of the authorizing resolution.”
The letter further asks several questions of the committee and its chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., about its validity and the topics the committee would like to discuss. These include the documents the committee wants to ask about, who is the proper “Ranking Minority Member” consulted on the subpoenas and the legal justification for the committee asking for McCarthy’s testimony.
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., is the ranking member on the committee, which has just two Republicans. But she was appointed by Pelosi without McCarthy’s input.
“I expressly reserve Leader McCarthy’s right to assert any other applicable privilege or objection to the Select Committee’s subpoena,” Berke also said.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, whom the committee subpoenaed at the same time as McCarthy , issued a similar letter earlier this week.
The Jan. 6 Committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News. But top House Democrats have signaled they may pursue legal options to compel testimony from Republican members of Congress who refuse to comply with subpoenas.
“We’ll pursue the same actions we’d pursue with anybody else who’d refuse,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said. “If you’re prepared to tell the truth, why would you care? If you’re not prepared to tell the truth, it may be a concern to you.”
The Jan. 6 Committee has been issuing subpoenas for months as it investigates the origins of the violent Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol by a mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters. But earlier this month was the first time it subpoenaed sitting members of Congress — and the first time any congressional committee subpoenaed sitting members in U.S. history.