Jackie Alemany, congressional investigations reporter for the Washington Post, said the “calculus” added up after the panel investigating the Capitol riot waited months to take the escalatory step against GOP colleagues, some of whom have panned the inquiry as a partisan exercise.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Jim Jordan of Ohio, and Mo Brooks of Alabama were the five members to be subpoenaed Thursday, and so far, no one has signaled that they plan to cooperate.
“I’m not sure the select committee believes that any of these members are actually going to appear,” Alemany said during an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “But what they communicated to reporters yesterday was after, really, months of deliberation, that they felt like they needed to give congressmen and House Minority Leader McCarthy — this full group — the opportunity to respond to evidence that they had found throughout the investigation. They had already issued voluntary requests for McCarthy, Scott Perry, [and] Jim Jordan months ago, actually at the end of last year, and had let those requests linger for quite some time.”
The committee’s investigators believe these lawmakers, who are close to former President Donald Trump, have valuable insight into the events on and around Jan. 6, the day rioters stormed the Capitol and disrupted Congress, which was meeting to certify the 2020 election results.
“It is clear [that] along the way, they’ve found evidence that they simply cannot ignore that involves and indicts these lawmakers in some way, which is why you’re seeing them now escalate this and call them in via subpoenas,” Alemany said.
“You know, lawmakers yesterday — Democratic lawmakers at least — did not want to even flirt with the contempt conversation and what they’re going to do if these lawmakers decide not to comply with these subpoenas,” she added. “But, you know, part of the reason why they held off for so long on issuing the subpoenas was because they didn’t want to get into protracted litigation and extend the investigation. But they’ve clearly made the calculus that in the interest of democracy and their investigation … they needed to take further steps to bring them in.”
The five Republican lawmakers who were sent the subpoenas were told they were compelled to appear for a deposition at the end of the month, according to letters sent by committee Chairman Bennie Thompson. Time is of the essence, as the committee plans to hold public hearings next month, and Republicans certain to shut down the investigation are poised to win control of the lower chamber in November.
The House has voted, largely along party lines, to hold Trump White House aides Steve Bannon, Mark Meadows, Peter Navarro, and Dan Scavino in contempt for defying subpoenas from the Jan. 6 committee, though Bannon is the only to be indicted on charges of failing to comply with a subpoena from the panel.