Jan. 6 panel subpoenas Kevin McCarthy, 4 other GOP House members allied with Trump

Kevin McCarthy stands at a lectern.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)
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The House committee scrutinizing the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol has subpoenaed House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and four other prominent conservative members after they refused to voluntarily comply with its requests for information.

In an all but unprecedented move to subpoena sitting members of Congress, the committee, which is expected to begin public hearings next month, is seeking to compel the testimony of McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) and GOP Reps. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Andy Biggs of Arizona and Mo Brooks of Alabama. Some of former President Trump’s biggest backers in Congress, they had all been asked in letters to speak with the committee and refused.

“Unfortunately, you declined voluntary cooperation, and we are left with no choice but to issue you this subpoena,” the lawmakers were told in letters informing them of the subpoenas.


The committee has debated privately for months over subpoenaing fellow House members who refuse to cooperate, questioning whether to set such a precedent — particularly given time constraints, the potential for a lengthy legal battle and the strong chance that Republicans could regain control of the House after the midterm election.

Some of the lawmakers in question were involved in meetings and planning sessions around Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election results.

“These members include those who participated in meetings at the White House, those who had direct conversations with President Trump leading up to and during the attack on the Capitol, and those who were involved in the planning and coordination of certain activities on and before January 6th,” the news release announcing the subpoenas states.

Hearings are scheduled to begin June 9 and are expected to last several weeks. The committee has completed more than 1,000 witness interviews.

“Before we hold our hearings next month, we wished to provide members the opportunity to discuss these matters with the committee voluntarily,” panel Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said in a statement. “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. We urge our colleagues to comply with the law, do their patriotic duty, and cooperate with our investigation as hundreds of other witnesses have done.”

The panel wants to speak with McCarthy about his communication with Trump before, during and after the attack, according to its letter to the minority leader.


McCarthy told reporters Thursday that he had not seen the subpoena. He did not answer when asked whether he intended to comply, but did say: “My view on the committee has not changed. They’re not conducting a legitimate investigation. It seems as though they just want to go after their political opponents.”

Several people have fought in court to block the committee’s subpoenas for depositions or records, arguing that the panel was not properly formed and is not valid because its two Republican members were not named by McCarthy.

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Earlier this month, a federal judge issued the first ruling in one of those cases, finding that committee’s creation and makeup are valid and that it has a legitimate legislative purpose. The ruling has been appealed.

The committee’s letter to Perry said his testimony is needed because he “was directly involved with efforts to corrupt the Department of Justice and install Jeffrey Clark as acting Attorney General.”

A spokesman for Perry, leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, would not say whether the Pennsylvania Republican would comply with the subpoena.


In a statement, Perry said: “That this illegitimate body leaked their latest charade to the media ahead of contacting targeted members is proof positive once again that this political witch hunt is about fabricating headlines and distracting Americans from their abysmal record of running America into the ground.”

The committee wants to speak with Jordan about his communication with Trump on Jan. 6 and his participation in meetings and discussions in late 2020 and early 2021 about strategies for overturning the election, according to its letter to the Ohio Republican.

Jordan told reporters that he learned of the subpoena from the media, and would not say whether he intended to comply.

McCarthy had named Jordan as one of the Republicans to serve on the committee, but withdrew all of his choices and declined to name others when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) rejected Jordan and Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana, another Republican chosen by McCarthy.

The committee’s letter to Biggs says he “participated in meetings to plan various aspects of Jan. 6 and was involved with plans to bring protestors to Washington for the counting of Electoral College ... [and] was involved in efforts to persuade state officials that the 2020 election was stolen.”

In a tweet, the Arizona Republican called the subpoena “pure political theater” and a distraction from the country’s problems.


Brooks has been subpoenaed because he spoke at Trump’s rally before the attack on the Capitol, encouraging those present to “start taking down names and kicking ass.”

The committee’s letter to the Alabama Republican also says it wants to ask him about conversations he has publicly disclosed in which Trump urged him to work to “rescind the election of 2020.”

Brooks said last week that he intended to fight a subpoena if one was issued.