More evidence has emerged that Republican lawmakers coordinated with Donald Trump's White House on efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, but congressional investigators are reportedly "afraid" of issuing subpoenas to their colleagues.
Testimony shows then-chief of staff Mark Meadows and members of the Freedom Caucus talked about sending Trump supporters marching to the U.S. Capitol as Congress certified Joe Biden's election win, but "New York Times" reporter Michael Schmidt told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that Jan. 6 committee members are highly unlikely to compel them to testify.
"What we have learned from the audio that came out about [Kevin] McCarthy, or the filing that came out about Meadows, is that these members of Congress, whether it was McCarthy who was talking to Trump or it was Meadows who was talking to Jim Jordan and Scott Perry and other members, is that the members of Congress have important information that is central to the question of whether Congress' acts were obstructed. Maybe they were obstructed by members of congress."
However, the select committee seems destined to leave a "gaping hole" in their final report on the insurrection because they most likely will not subpoena those GOP lawmakers, Schmidt said.
"If the committee continues on the trajectory they're on, they will never speak to those individuals, they will not subpoena them to testify," Schmidt said. "They will not be interviewed, it will leave a gaping hole in their report. These are clearly identified as central players in what went on. Kevin McCarthy talking to other members, talking to the president of the United States, obviously with a clear-eyed view through some of that audio of what was going on. Meadows, you know, looks like, in on the plans with these other members, like Jim Jordan. The committee has shown an unwillingness to force them to answer questions. The committee can have all the public hearings it wants, but without those individuals, without a fuller picture of what went on around them, it will not be a full authoritative account of what happened in the lead-up to and during Jan. 6."
Schmidt said the committee has at least two reasons for leaving that evidence out of their findings.
"One of them is that legal exert experts would say the members would have a decent argument in court because of the speech and debate protections they have as members of Congress," he said. "This is an area that hasn't been tested, and Democrats don't want to do that, and there is a feeling from Democratic leadership in the House, if they were to cross this line, then when the Republicans win back control of Congress, if they were to do that, they would then turn that power on the Democrats themselves. They don't want to set that precedent. They're afraid of doing that because of what could happen to them down the line."