Urgent Subpoenas For GOP Members Of Congress Finally Under Consideration

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The House committee investigating the Capitol riot is considering issuing subpoenas to non-cooperative Republican members of Congress, a new report in The Guardian says. Not a single Republican member of either the House or Senate has yet cooperated with the riot panel, although investigators have sought information from individuals ranging from House GOP leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) to Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas).

And there are some critical details here that investigators are pursuing. During the Capitol riot, someone wrote in a group chat including members of the Oath Keepers that Jackson “Needs protection” and “has critical data to protect.” What were they talking about? What tipped off members of the violent group, numerous members of which have been charged with seditious conspiracy, that Jackson supposedly required protection? Following the above missives, Stewart Rhodes — who founded and leads the Oath Keepers — replied, “Give him my cell.” So… did Jackson ever get Rhodes’s cell phone number? Was he or someone around him in contact with members of a group containing members who’ve not just been charged with but since pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy? Questions along these lines are quite relevant — obviously! — for investigators to answer.

Jackson said he wasn’t in touch with the Oath Keepers, but the Congressman and former White House physician also said last month that Biden was “about to SURRENDER our border completely to criminal drug cartels,” so he’s not exactly credible. According to The Guardian, panel investigators are “expected” to reach a final decision regarding subpoenaing Republican members of Congress — or not — over the next couple of weeks, as committee members also prepare for the additional public hearings planned for June. (Witness and topic lists for those planned hearings aren’t publicly available yet.) The committee just recently requested the voluntary cooperation of Reps. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), and Jackson, and — like McCarthy and Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Scott Perry (R-Pa.) before them — all refused to cooperate.

According to sources for The Guardian, committee investigators explored the possibility of obtaining the details they were after from sources other than the targeted members of Congress, but that hasn’t worked out. Investigators had more success in that approach with individuals close to former chief of staff in the Trump White House Mark Meadows. Aides to the ex-official including Cassidy Hutchinson and Ben Williamson have testified to the committee, providing substantial information like the detail that Meadows was informed ahead of time about the possibility of violence on January 6. As for the scrutinized GOP members of Congress, The Guardian notes that resistance from the Republican members in the event of subpoenas from the panel could drag out the investigative process — something investigators are hoping to cap with a report later this year.

“But some members believe Republicans may just cooperate if they are subpoenaed, the sources said, since Republican subpoenas to Democrats in a future investigation would only have teeth if Republicans don’t defang the very congressional subpoenas first – by defying them,” according to The Guardian — although that could prove to be an overly rosy view. (And there’s obviously a difference between remarks from behind-the-scenes sources and official conclusions from committee members.) Republicans haven’t exactly been trustworthy on the issue of upholding the norms of government institutions.