The Democrat-dominated Jan. 6 Committee, which has long faced accusations of partisan conduct, now has its sights set on GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
The Jan. 6 Commission was created by the Democratic-led House during the summer of 2021 in an almost totally party-line vote. Only two Republicans, Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), voted in favor of the commission; these two are also the only two Republicans with a seat on the committee.
In a Wednesday letter to the GOP House leader, the committee requested that McCarthy come before it to testify.
“We write to request your voluntary cooperation with our investigation on a range of critical topics, including your conversations with President Trump before, during and after the violent January 6th attack,” the letter read.
McCarthy, like many other prominent Republicans, was quick to denounce President Donald Trump in the aftermath of the Capitol rally. In their letter to McCarthy, the committee reported a statement that McCarthy made a few days after the Jan. 6 rally, criticizing Trump and shooting down concerns over potential fraud in the 2020 election.
“You have acknowledged speaking directly with the former President while the violence was underway on January 6th,” the letter said, continuing the committee’s trend of subpoenaing any and all Republicans who had any contact with Trump on Jan. 6.
They also cited a statement that McCarthy made a few days after the rally.
In a Jan. 13, 2021, speech on the House floor, McCarthy ruled: “The President bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding. These facts require immediate actions by President Trump: Accept his share of responsibility. Quell the brewing unrest. And ensure President-Elect Biden is able to successfully begin his term.”
“What we saw last week was not the American way,” McCarthy continued. “Neither is the continued rhetoric that Joe Biden is not the legitimate president. Let’s be clear, Joe Biden will be sworn in as the President of the United States in one week because he won the election.”
McCarthy’s position on the Jan. 6 rally and the legitimacy of the 2020 election fall mostly in line with the views espoused by the Jan. 6 Commission, and this may make McCarthy more likely to answer the group’s summons.
“A full and accurate accounting of what happened on January 6th is critical to the Select Committee’s legislative recommendations,” the letter concluded. “And the American people deserve to understand all the relevant details. Thank you in advance for your consideration of this request.”
McCarthy is not the first Republican to be called on by the commission, which has had to expand its investigation to House lawmakers after its previous investigations turned up no evidence of foul play by Trump or his former staff. McCarthy is, however, the most prominent Republican lawmaker to be summoned.
Over the past month, several Republicans have been called before the commission.
The first of these was Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.). Perry refused the summons, calling the Jan. 6 Commission “illegitimate.”
“I decline this entity’s request and will continue to fight the failures of the radical Left who desperately seek distraction from their abject failures of crushing inflation, a humiliating surrender in Afghanistan, and the horrendous crisis they created at our border,” Perry announced in a Twitter thread.
Next to be targeted was Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a vocal and outspoken critic of the Jan. 6 commission. Like Perry, Jordan refused the summons, citing “real concerns” over the commission’s track record of presenting doctored evidence as fact.
Specifically, Jordan was referencing a doctored photo presented to the committee by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).
At one point during hearings over Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Schiff presented as evidence altered and fake text messages that were allegedly exchanged between Meadows and Jordan. These doctored images contained a quote never said by Meadows and cut out critical context, a fact the Jan. 6 committee was eventually forced to confirm.
McCarthy has yet to announce publicly whether he will become the first Republican lawmaker to accept the controversial panel’s request for testimony. His office could not be immediately reached for comment.