Jan. 6 committee subpoenas of House Republicans is an escalation — but is it too little, too late?

Jan 6 committee subpoenas Kevin McCarthy and four other Republican congressmen

By Jon Skolnik

Staff Writer

Published May 12, 2022 6:54PM (EDT)

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) (STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) (STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

The select committee investigating the Capitol riot issued subpoenas on Thursday to five members of congress, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., after all five lawmakers refused to provide the panel with testimony. 

Apart from McCarthy, the committee has served Reps. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., Scott Perry, R-Pa., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio.

The move is an extraordinary escalation as committee leaders have deliberated issuing subpoenas to their congressional colleagues for months, according to CNN. It comes just a month before the committee plans to hold public hearings on various lawmakers' possible involvement in Donald Trump's effort to overturn the 2020 election. 

In a press release, the panel's chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said that it "has learned that several of our colleagues have information relevant to our investigation into the attack on January 6th and the events leading up to it."

"Before we hold our hearings next month, we wished to provide members the opportunity to discuss these matters with the committee voluntarily. Regrettably, the individuals receiving subpoenas today have refused and we're forced to take this step to help ensure the committee uncovers facts concerning January 6th," Thompson added. 

RELATED: "Trump knew exactly what was going on": Inside the thinking of the Jan. 6 committee

McCarthy, the panel said, "was in communication with President Trump before, during, and after the attack on January 6th" and "claimed to have had a discussion with the President in the immediate aftermath of the attack during which President Trump admitted some culpability for the attack."

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Perry, meanwhile, was reportedly "involved with efforts to corrupt the Department of Justice and install Jeffrey Clark," a former Trump-backed DOJ official who attempted to use the agency's resources to investigate bogus claims of election fraud.

Perry also reportedly "had various communications with the White House about a number of matters relevant to the Select Committee's investigation, including allegations that Dominion voting machines had been corrupted."

According to CBS News, the committee believes that Biggs played a role in a scheme, known as the Green Bay Sweep, to have former Vice President Mike Pence reject the electoral votes of certain battleground states that Trump lost in the election. Bigg also reportedly had a hand in bringing protesters to the Capitol on January 6. 

Back in January, McCarthy rebuffed the panel's attempt to question him, calling the committee "illegitimate" and claiming that he had "nothing else to add." Immediately after the riot, McCarthy pinned some of the blame on Trump, though he has since remained an avowed follower. 

RELATED: Trump takes control of the Jan. 6 story — while the media and Congress sleep on it

By Jon Skolnik

Jon Skolnik is a staff writer at Salon. His work has appeared in Current Affairs, The Baffler, and The New York Daily News.

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Andy Biggs Brief House Of Representatives House Republicans Jan. 6 Jan. 6 Committee Kevin Mccarthy