The January 6 committee deposed over 1,000 witnesses about Trump's 2020 election fraud scheme.
Seven House Republicans elected not to answer the committee's questions.
Defying this probe could empower Democrats to do the same when Republicans take control in 2023.
While some Trump administration officials have been indicted for refusing to cooperate with the January 6 select committee's investigation into the deadly siege at the US Capitol, several prominent House Republicans who'll soon have subpoena power of their own assailed the panel's legal authority and refused to testify.
The highest profile holdouts include House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Judiciary Committee ranking member Jim Jordan of Ohio, who are vying to become House speaker and Judiciary chairman, respectively, in the next Congress after flipping control of the chamber this fall.
Fellow subpoena-defier Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona serves on the Judiciary panel as well as the House Oversight and Reform Committee, which is gearing up to investigate presidential scion Hunter Biden's business dealings and, by extension, President Joe Biden.
Many of the GOP members who disregarded the January 6 probe offered varying reasons for not participating — ranging from complaining about the committee's public outreach to assailing the "baseless witch hunt." Their arguments could come back to haunt them if they try to flex the new majority party's powers next year only to have House Democrats recycle the precedent-setting rejections.
January 6 committee members unanimously voted on December 19 to refer McCarthy, Jordan, Biggs, and Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania to the House Committee on Ethics for failing to comply with the subpeonas.
"The Rules of the House of Representatives make clear that their willful noncompliance violates multiple standards of conduct and subjects them to discipline," House investigators wrote in the executive summary of their final report. "The Committee also believes that each of these individuals, along with other Members who attended the December 21st planning meeting with President Trump at the White House, should be questioned in a public forum about their advance knowledge of and role in President Trump's plan to prevent the peaceful transition of power."
Investigators urged the ethics panel to consider sanctioning the four Republican lawmakers. It remains unclear whether the famously secretive panel, which is composed of an equal number of members from both parties, will take up the recommendation.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy
The select committee in a January 12, 2022 letter asked McCarthy to testify about his communications with Trump before, during, and after January 6, 2021 regarding challenging the election results. McCarthy has acknowledged having at least one conversation with Trump while MAGA supporters were swarming the Capitol, but has, so far, declined to discuss it with the committee.
The committee subpoenaed him about it on May 25.
McCarthy told reporters that he's sent the committee two official responses through his attorney, Elliot S. Berke, and said he's considering releasing said letters to the press. McCarthy aides did not respond to Insider's request for copies of the letters.
CNN reports that in one letter, Berke accused the committee of playing partisan politics.
"Its only objective appears to be to attempt to score political points or damage its political opponents — acting like the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee one day and the Department of Justice the next," Berke wrote.
When asked why Democrats should comply with any congressional investigations House Republicans choose to pursue next year given the defiance he and others have shown about January 6, McCarthy said the difference is "we won't be illegitimate."
"We won't issue subpoenas going after our political opponents," McCarthy told reporters at a June 9 press conference. "We'll do exactly what Congress is supposed to do. We'll uphold the Constitution."
Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio
Jordan's got the longest-running paper trail with the committee to date.
The select committee got things rolling on December 22, 2021 by asking Jordan to testify about his communications with Trump before, during, and after January 6, 2021 regarding challenging the election results.
In his initial response on January 9, 2022, Jordan said he had "no relevant information" to offer the committee, and took investigators to task for even asking.
"This request is far outside the bounds of any legitimate inquiry, violates core Constitutional principles, and would serve to further erode legislative norms," Jordan wrote in his first letter back to the committee.
After he'd been subpoenaed, Jordan noted that he was still waiting to hear back about questions he posed to the committee in January and bristled at the "dangerous escalation" of compelling him to testify.
"You have not substantively addressed any of the points in the letter or alleviated any of the concerns I raised," Jordan wrote on May 25 adding, that the same concerns "still exist today and have only grown as the Select Committee has continued to leak nonpublic information in a misleading manner in the intervening period."
A federal judge, however, dismissed Republican contentions that the committee is improperly constituted and doesn't serve a legislative purpose, and recently a judge swept aside similar arguments made by one-time Trump advisor Steve Bannon in his failed attempt to get his contempt of Congress trial dismissed.
Jordan delved even deeper into why he's unlikely to ever testify before the committee in the 11-page, heavily-footnoted letter he sent the panel on June 9. In that third missive, Jordan contests the panel's formation, membership, subpoena powers, and "legislative purpose," among other things.
"You seem to believe that you have the authority to arbitrate the scope of a colleague's official activities," Jordan wrote on June 9. "Respectfully, I do not answer to you or the other members of the Select Committee. I am accountable to the voters of Ohio's Fourth Congressional District."
Jordan has already committed to investigating the Biden family and federal law enforcement agencies (DOJ, FBI) once he gets the Judiciary committee gavel.
Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona
The select committee in a May 2, 2022 letter asked Biggs to testify about any communications he'd had with former President Donald Trump, Trump administration officials, and Stop the Steal rally organizers about challenging the 2020 election results.
Biggs accused the committee of leaking subpoenas to the press before notifying the actual members involved, and railed against the "pure political theater."
"The January 6 Committee's ongoing, baseless witch hunt is nothing more than an effort to distract the American people from the Democrats' and Biden's disastrous leadership," Biggs said May 12 in a press release.
Biggs said referring him to the Ethics committee was the panel's "final political stunt."
"The J6 Committee has defamed my name and my character," he wrote online. "And I look forward to reviewing their documents, publishing their lies, and setting the record straight in the 118th Congress."
Meanwhile, Biggs has been pushing to impeach Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas since summer 2021.
Rep. Ronny Jackson of Texas
The select committee in a May 2, 2022 letter asked Jackson to testify about any communications he had with members of the pro-Trump Oath Keepers or participants in the "Stop the Steal" rally that immediately preceded the attack on the US Capitol.
Jackson fired back the same day, disavowing any text messaging with Oath Keepers and bashing the committee and press for their "ruthless crusade against President Trump and his allies."
"Yet again, the illegitimate January 6 Committee proves its agenda is malicious and not substantive," Jackson said in a press release. "Their attempt to drag out a manufactured narrative illustrates why the American people are sick of the media and this partisan Committee's use of January 6 as a political tool against conservatives they do not like."
Rep. Barry Loudermilk of Georgia
The select committee has repeatedly asked Loudermilk to testify about a tour group he led through the US Capitol complex on January 5, 2021 that included at least one person who returned the following day during the riot.
The committee's first letter on May 19, 2022 mentioned that it had reviewed security footage of said tour and that investigators had questions about where they had been.
House Committee on Administration ranking member Rodney Davis defended Loudermilk a day later on social media, calling reports of GOP-led reconnaissance tours "demonstrably false" and urging the Capitol Police to release all security footage from January 5 to clear the air.
The committee released clips of the Loudermilk-led tour on June 15 and followed up with another letter asking him to explain why one of the photo-snapping group members appeared to be documenting areas "not typically of interest to tourists, including hallways, staircases, and security checkpoints."
Loudermilk responded on Twitter, lambasting the committee for "undermining the Capitol Police and doubling down on their smear campaign."
Loudermilk's account of who was on the tour and what they were interested in has shifted over the past 18 months.
Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania
The select committee in a December 20, 2021 letter asked Perry to testify about his communications with Trump administration officials about installing Department of Justice attorney Jeffrey Clark as acting US attorney general to help overturn the 2020 election results.
Perry accused the "political witch hunt" of "fabricating headlines" in a May 12 press release, but didn't specify whether he'd testify.
Perry's attorney John P. Rowley III closed the door on that in the response he sent the committee on May 24.
Rowley wrote that Perry declined to testify before a committee "that is operating in contravention of its own rules" and "committed to scoring political points, rather than focusing on the troublemakers who broke into the Capitol."
Perry has also denied that he sought a presidential pardon for anything related to the 2020 election tampering. January 6 committee cochair Liz Cheney said during the June 9 hearing that investigators had uncovered evidence that Perry and other GOP lawmakers had angled for pardons after the Capitol was attacked.
Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama
The select committee in a May 2, 2022 letter asked Brooks to testify about public statements he made in March about Trump repeatedly lobbying him to "rescind" the 2020 election and reinstall him as president. Brooks aired those particular grievances after Trump pulled his endorsement from Brooks' bid to replace retiring Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama.
Brooks began laying out stipulations for testifying before the "partisan Witch Hunt Committee" in an undated statement, but then declared "that time has long passed."
"If they want to talk, they're gonna have to send me a subpoena, which I will fight," Brooks said in a campaign press release.
Brooks told Insider that he considers himself an outlier among the investigation's targets because everything he knows is already in the public domain, including testimony he gave in 2021 after being sued by Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell of California about the insurrection at the US Capitol.
"I am quite different from all other persons the Committee seeks to interview in that I have already given numerous, lengthy written, sworn statements (Swalwell lawsuit) and written, unsworn public statements that detail my knowledge and conduct concerning January 6 events," Brooks wrote in an email. "The Committee thus already has a fairly full accounting of all knowledge I have."
Brooks lost the GOP primary for Alabama's open Senate seat in May. He won't be returning for the 118th Congress.
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