Update (Jan. 13, 2022): Hours after the House committee investigating last January’s Capitol riots requested testimony and documents from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Rep. McCarthy rejected the request Wednesday. In a statement, he said he was refusing to cooperate because the investigation was not legitimate and an “abuse of power.”
“The committee has demanded testimony from staffers who applied for First Amendment permits. It has subpoenaed the call records of private citizens and their financial records from banks while demanding secrecy not supported by law,” McCarthy said in the statement. “It has lied about the contents of documents it has received. It has held individuals in contempt of Congress for exercising their Constitutional right to avail themselves of judicial proceedings.”
“You have acknowledged speaking directly with the former President while the violence was underway on Jan. 6th,” committee chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) wrote in a letter to McCarthy. According to the committee, “McCarthy was reportedly in communication with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in the days prior to Jan. 6.” The committee is looking into “how the President’s plans for Jan. 6 came together, and all the other ways he attempted to alter the results of the election.”
“For example, in advance of Jan. 6, you reportedly explained to Mark Meadows and the former President that objections to the certification of the electoral votes on Jan. 6th ‘was doomed to fail,’” Rep. Thompson wrote.
For now, it’s unclear if the committee will get any testimony out of McCarthy or the other members of Congress the Capitol riots committee has gone after. Both Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Scott Perry (R-PA) have refused to meet with the committee. The committee has considered subpoenaing members of Congress. However, it’s a risky move that could lead to legal and political challenges.
“The Select Committee has tremendous respect for the prerogatives of Congress and the privacy of its Members,” Thompson wrote in the letter to McCarthy. “At the same time, we have a solemn responsibility to investigate fully the facts and circumstances of these events.”
McCarthy had initially criticized Trump’s actions after the 2020 election, saying he “bears responsibility” for the Capitol riots. However, he has since become a harsh critic of the committee, most notably blasting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) over the lack of Republican representation on the committee.