Members of Congress Subpoena Members of Congress

The January 6 Committee just issued subpoenas to five of their colleagues.

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was in communication with President Trump before, during, and after the attack on January 6th. Mr. McCarthy was also in communication with other members of the White House staff during the attack and in the days before and after January 6th concerning the events at the Capitol. Mr. McCarthy also claimed to have had a discussion with the President in the immediate aftermath of the attack during which President Trump admitted some culpability for the attack.

Representative Scott Perry was directly involved with efforts to corrupt the Department of Justice and install Jeffrey Clark as acting Attorney General. In addition, Mr. Perry had various communications with the White House about a number of matters relevant to the Select Committee’s investigation, including allegations that Dominion voting machines had been corrupted.

Representative Jim Jordan was in communication with President Trump on January 6th and participated in meetings and discussions throughout late 2020 and early 2021 about strategies for overturning the 2020 election.

Representative Andy Biggs participated in meetings to plan various aspects of January 6th and was involved with plans to bring protestors to Washington for the counting of Electoral College votes. Mr. Biggs was involved in efforts to persuade state officials that the 2020 was stolen. Additionally, former White House personnel identified Mr. Biggs as potentially being involved in an effort to seek a presidential pardon for activities connected with the former President’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Representative Mo Brooks spoke at the rally on January 6th, encouraging rioters to “start taking down names and kicking ass.” In addition, Mr. Brooks has publicly described conversations in which the former President urged him to work to “rescind the election of 2020” and reinstall Mr. Trump as President. The Select Committee also has evidence that Mr. Brooks’s staff met with members of Vice President Pence’s staff before January 6th and conveyed the view that the Vice President does not have authority to unilaterally refuse to count certified electoral votes.

I suspect such a subpoena only conceivably has a chance in hell of working with Kevin McCarthy (or possibly Mo Brooks if he can do it quietly, given how Trump has targeted him). The rest of genuine criminal liability they’d like to use Speech and Debate to dodge.

But this provides a way for the January 6 Committee to package up what evidence they have against these five in such a way as to feed it to DOJ.

58 replies
  1. I Never Lie and am Always Right says:

    Do you know often in the past has a Congressional committee issued a subpoena to a member of Congress? I can envision this happening as part of an ethics investigation that is targeting the Congressperson who is subpoenaed. Aside from that context, I’m wondering if/when this has previously occurred.

  2. Peterr says:

    Beyond a criminal referral, the House has at its disposal various ways in which to police its membership without taking something to the DOJ, ranging from suspension from service on committees to expulsion from the House.

    While the J6 committee is waiting for a response from the DOJ, maybe just pick one obstructionist member from this group and suspend him from his committees as a first step. “Representative Jordan, during your tenure as a member of the House Judiciary Committee, you have regularly been engaged in issuing subpoenas that you expect to be complied with, as a matter of law. Until such time as you comply with *this* subpoena, and because of your contempt for the work of a duly constituted committee of the House, you are suspended from all service on the House Judiciary Committee, including all functions as the ranking member of that committee.”

    • Peterr says:

      Biggs would also make a good target for this, as a member of both the House Judiciary Committee and the House Oversight & Govt Reform Committee.

      • Bardi says:

        A lack of accountability has been dogging the Democratic Party, as well as our government. Great ideas.

      • JVO says:

        Totally agree with and love your recommendations Peterr.
        Do Nancy and Chuck have the stones to do it? McCarthy has shown he does.
        Does Mo Brooks have the stones to begrudgingly and minimally comply since Trump has dumped him or will Mo leverage his potential compliance to get back in Trump’s good graces? Many options remain available including the 5th Amendment if Debate Clause fails.

  3. Scott Johnson says:

    The rest of genuine criminal liability they’d like to use Speech and Debate to dodge.

    How would that work? My understanding of Speech and Debate is that if, say, Mo Brooks were to rise on the floor of the House and utter the words “Hillary Clinton murdered Vince Foster”, that he would be immune from any libel lawsuit. But were Mo Brooks to confess to sedition, either “in debate” or in questioning by the 1/6 Committee, he would not automagically receive any sort of immunity for that. Nor would private phone calls to Trump or anyone else within the Trump Administration be given any sort of protection, even if conducted from the floor of the House chamber.

    Speech and Debate clause is meant to allow unfettered speech and debate, and was included in the Constitution at a time in which state sedition laws (which prohibited certain forms of speech) were common and tolerated, in order to protect members of Congress from being prosecuted or such as a result of their debate in Congress.

    • Spencer Dawkins says:

      I’m also mystified by “Speech and Debate” in McCarthy’s case. Talking on the phone with the president, especially during the insurrection seems like a stretch to justify, using my layperson’s understanding of “Speech and Debate”. What am I missing?

  4. Zirc says:

    I don’t understand the Mo Brooks snippet. Most of it details ways in which he was complicit, but the last sentence regarding the meeting between Brooks’ and Pence’s staffs suggests the opposite: “The Select Committee also has evidence that Mr. Brooks’s staff met with members of Vice President Pence’s staff before January 6th and conveyed the view that the Vice President does not have authority to unilaterally refuse to count certified electoral votes.” I know Brooks is no longer in Trump’s good graces, but does that “not” belong?


      • Zirc says:

        That COULD be it. I have to admit that I did not seriously consider that possibility because while I can see a staffer contradicting the boss after January 6th, I can’t really see a staffer doing so before then. If that is the difference, I think the committee (I presume Marcy is quoting the committee), could have clarified how the staffers’ meeting related to Brooks’ actions. I suppose, though, that’s one of the subjects they’d like to discuss with him.


        • Alan Charbonneau says:

          You wrote “I presume Marcy is quoting the committee”. I thought it was her phrasing in the recap, but you are correct, it is a quote from their news release:


        • Vinnie Gambone says:

          Perhaps it meant Brook’s staff was agreeing with Pence’s staff that “the Vice President does not have authority to unilaterally refuse to count certified electoral votes.”

    • skua says:

      That meeting by Brooks’ staff was before 6Jan.
      Then Brooks on 6Jan incited a crowd to pressure Pence.
      Shows that Brooks knew he was pressuring Pence to act illegally.

      • Zirc says:

        So you think Brooks knew what his staff was telling Pence’s staff? That’s the part that gets me. Given his obvious desire to overturn the election, why would he have his staff tell Pence’s staff that BEFORE the 6th? And why would a staffer knowingly undermine/contradict the boss before the riot?


        • skua says:

          What I suggest is just a way to have what was presented be both complete enough and to make sense. Neither of these assumptions may be correct.

          I suspect:
          The committee is placing the onus on Brooks to show that he didn’t know or agree with what his staff commed to Pence. Otherwise they’ll conclude that he knew that pressuring Pence would be illegal.

          As to why he’d then pressure Pence to act illegally – again that is a matter that the committee holds that Brooks needs to explain.
          (Blackmail, severe duress, passing mental illness or “I misread the room and so it felt like a good idea at the time to join in an insurrection your honor” are possibilities. )

    • harpie says:

      re: BROOKS, I’ve been rereading this post [and the comments] by Marcy:


      One of the conversations we got into was about the possible reasons BROOKS slept in his office the night before and was wearing body armor at the speech:

      • FL Resister says:

        harpie says:
        July 29, 2021 at 8:23 am

        Mo BROOKS [7/28/21]:
        I was warned on Monday [1/4/21] that there might be risks associated with the next few days.
        And as a consequence of those warnings, I did not go to my condo. Instead, I slept on the floor of my office. And when I gave my speech at the Ellipse, I was wearing body armor.
        That’s why I was wearing that nice little (yellow and black) windbreaker, to cover up the body armor.

        Another good thread Harpie. Thanks for calling that up.
        Your archival products are stellar deep space dives.

        It needs to be driiven home that each of the five Republican congressmen subpoened by the Jan 6 Committee this week had months ago received a polite letter requesting an interview to answer questions about their obvious and documented participation in the Jan 6 fiasco.
        Committee Member Representative Ruben Gallego (AZ) schooled the nation last night on All In with Chris Hayes about the position these hopefully increasingly isolated gents are putting themselves into by not coming forth with their stories or else pleading The Fifth to avoid self-incrimination.

        After all, nearly 1,000 witnesses, including former White House aides, can’t all be wrong.

  5. BobCon says:

    I’m curious if this is more of a prelude to what the Committee plans on releasing.

    Are they anticipating a line of defense from Jordan et al whining that they weren’t offered a chance to give their side of all of the texts and messages that will be made public? To which the Committee can then say we went to every length to get you to offer your story but you refused.

    It’s also possible it’s just for publicity, I realize, or for the principle.

    Another thought is if they have strong evidence to back up the need for a subpoena, they’re anticipating the possibility that someone like Jordan will be firing subpoenas recklessly to reps like Omar next year based on no evidence at all, and they want to establish that this move should only happen in extreme cases with a long trail of evidence in support, and not just because someone is Muslim.

  6. Cosmo Le Cat says:

    In the interests of fairness and completeness, both Pence and Trump should be invited to speak by the J6 Committee. As BobCon said, “the Committee can then say we went to every length to get you to offer your story but you refused.”

  7. Cosmo Le Cat says:

    In the interests of fairness and completeness, both Pence and Trump should be invited to speak by the J6 Committee. As BobCon said, “the Committee can then say we went to every length to get you to offer your story but you refused.”

  8. GonzoDon says:

    I have no doubt every one of these Republican subpoenas will be ignored, and there will be zero consequences, because that’s been the routine for the last five and half years. And, of course, there will be a lot of Republican huffing and puffing about “political witch hunts”, and 40% of the population will tag along with that narrative.

    So why is this news supposed to excite me? I’ve watched Steve Bannon and several others ignore Congressional subpeonas, with zero legal consequences to date. (Although I’m pretty damn sure that if I had ignored a Congressional subpeona months ago, I’d be in jail by now. Go figure.)

    I am not a lawyer, and I don’t understand all the nuances. But, like millions of Americans, I’m growing crazy frustrated watching the instigators and collaborators in Congress, and in the previous White House, simply play out the legal clock on this matter and skate away unscathed. Until someone, anyone, in elected office is found liable and held accountable for the countless breaches of law and ethics committed before, during, and after the Trump administration, I’m not holding my breath that a few more subpoenas is going to make any difference.

    Americans, with their short attention spans, are already largely forgetting about January 6. I hate to say that, but it’s true. Soon chatter about our fall 2022 elections will consume the available MSM bandwidth, and any public demand for Congressional accountability for the events of January 6 will be lost in the 24/7 static.

    More and more, I am demoralized by the two-tiered system of justice in this country: one for the rich and the politically connected, and one for the rest of us. Once the Republicans get a majority in Congress, it’s game-over for our democracy. If a Democratic president wins the 2024 electoral vote, Republicans need merely refuse to certify the states’ electors, and adopt whatever “alternative slate of electors” the swing states provide. Please, anyone, tell me why this can’t and won’t happen. Because it sure looks like a slam-dunk to me, if no one is held accountable for their actions after the 2020 elections. I no longer trust our justice system to hold the line.

    • FL Resister says:

      I share your grief, Gonzo.
      I also really think there is more going on under the surface at DOJ and within the Jan 6 Committee than any of us can know.
      I hope that your despair will not prevent you from doing whatever possible to help as many people as you can to vote for any and all Democrats this November.

      We are f*cked. That much is obvious. At the same time, we’re on the correct side of things.
      So we have that going for us.

    • Belyn says:

      You are a hard man to please. Why are you assuming that the Repubs will take the House?

      • GonzoDon says:

        Why am I assuming the Republicans will take the House?

        Midterm elections — which almost always bode poorly for the sitting president’s party.
        Biden’s popularity ratings — currently at a record lows.
        Inflation — still soaring. (Yes, I know, there is so much more to our current economic story than inflation, but: This is America. Take away people’s cheap gasoline and affordable flank steaks, and they get very ornery very quickly.)
        Lawlessness and crime — which have risen to their worst levels in years. Whoever may be to blame for that (and I don’t think it’s Democrats), voters are not feeling secure and happy, which should make all incumbents nervous.

        I really, really hope that the Democrats can hold the House or, at least, the U.S. Senate in November. But, I’m a pragmatist, and it’s clear the odds are not good.

        And, to repeat, loss of the House of Representatives in 2022 probably means game over for democracy in this country … at least in the sense of ever having another national presidential election that isn’t rigged to yield a Republican victory.

        I keep asking people I know to (please!) give me a compelling argument as to why that WON’T happen, given what we witnessed in 2020 and 2021. So far, no one has succeeded.

        Still, I would love for someone on this comment page to talk me down from the ledge. What am I missing? What institution will hold firm and prevent a rigged Republican presidential outcome in 2024? It sure feels like we’re in the middle of a slow-moving coup to me. Neither the news media, the justice system, or voter integrity seem up to the task of stopping it.

        • Rayne says:

          This: “Still, I would love for someone on this comment page to talk me down from the ledge” is not what we do here.

  9. madwand says:

    At least Hillary Clinton had the stones to appear before Trey Gowdy’s hearing which in retrospect McCarthy indicated was done for purely political reasons. These guys so far have no stones and they want to lead. One has to seriously wonder where we would have been vis a vis Russia/Ukraine if these guys had been left in charge.

    • Marinela says:

      I was thinking the same. Putin likes to invade countries when democrats hold the WH. Ukraine would probably be in worst hell if this is even possible.

      • Al Ostello says:

        Don’t forget how Trump was doing his best to dismantle Nato. Thankfully Biden helped reignite it before Putin invaded, which boosted Nato further.

    • grennan says:

      Hillary testified for more than 30 hours, in four or five appearances and indicated she’d do it as long as anybody had any questions. In one of those, she actually helped turn out the room lights as everybody left.

      FWIW, her first job out of law school was on the legal staff of one of the Watergate committees.

  10. Joberly says:

    Emptywheel and Scott Johnson.
    The last line of the “speech and debate” clause in Article I of the Constitution tracks the phrase in the 1689 English Bill of Rights that William and Mary signed. The clause in 1689 was intended to prevent future kings from doing what James II had done in arresting members of Parliament for their legislative activities while not in the Lords or Commons.

    1689 English Bill of Rights: “That the freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament.”

    1787 Article I Section 6 of the US Constitution: “…and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.”

    2021: Perry’s attempt to get Jeffrey Rosen replaced by Jeffrey Clark so the latter could seize voting machines in Georgia does not seem to have anything to do with “Speech or Debate in either House.” Jordan, Biggs, and Brooks might be on stronger ground in saying that they were preparing for the House debate on Jan. 6 to object to certifying electoral college votes from the states. Not sure about McCarthy’s Jan. 6 afternoon call to Trump begging the president to call off the insurrectionists.

  11. Anathema Device says:

    “One has to seriously wonder where we would have been vis a vis Russia/Ukraine if these guys had been left in charge.”

    I can tell you exactly where you would be – Trump and the GOP would be praising Putin to the skies, and doing everything to undermine Ukraine and NATO (if they hadn’t already destroyed the treaty) they could.

    Meanwhile the EU and adjacent nations would be working like mad to counteract Putin, forming new NATO-like agreements and organisations, and cutting America right out of any influence and future leadership.

    America’s position as world leader would be toast, forever.*

    It remains to be seen if any such position will last beyond the first month of the next MAGOP administration, but I don’t like the chances.

    *I should point out I’m no fan of America’s past self-claimed role as the world’s policeman, or its activities and influence on Australian politics. But in reality we have the USA, the EU, and China. The EU don’t give much of a damn about us (especially after the way our current government have behaved towards France), and China sees us as a potential client state. A strong, democratic, and united USA is in our interests, even aside from the humanitarian aspects of letting half your population have no equal say in politics or over their own bodies.

  12. joel fisher says:

    Will the issue of the validity of the subpoenas be resolved by 1/1/23? I’m betting it won’t and this whole deal will be moot. They could have subpoenaed people last August, but no, they were relying on the good faith of Gym Jordan, et al. (It was hard even to write the last few words.) Honestly, the Democrats are as dumb as Rayne so eloquently pointed out earlier in the week. The only quibble I have with that piece is it was only directed at the Senate and only about that body’s inept reaction to the removal of Roe. Seriously, why is dumbness the way of the Democrats? But wait, perhaps the 1/6 Committee is attempting to get the GOP to laugh itself to death, that’s a better plan than subpoenas that are going to spend 7 months and 20 days in the Courts.

    • Yancy Faith says:

      What is the significance of January 1?

      I believe the public Congressional hearing will go forth in June with or without the subpoenaed members’ testimony.

      • Anathema Device says:

        “What is the significance of January 1?”

        Joel Fisher assumes that the Dems will lose their House majority in the upcoming 2022 midterms. Jan 1 2023 is the date the new house members are seated, and they assume, quite rightly, that the incoming GOP house leader will kill the current Jan 6 committee/its investigations stone dead.

        • P J Evans says:

          They actually are seated on the first or second weekday after Jan 1. Next year that would be the 3rd, as the 1st falls on a Sunday.

        • Silly but True says:

          You’re not thinking cynically enough. They’re not going to kill the committee, they’re going to repurpose it into the House Select Cmte. to Subpoeba Congressional Democrats’ & Biden Officials Communications.

              • earlofhuntingdon says:

                Well you may ask. As for “overturning” other elections – a major thrust of the GOP for 2022 and 2024 – Florida’s Sec’y of State is apparently resigning during the busiest time for her department: seven months ahead of November’s election.

                Conducting elections safely and fairly is normally a state SecState’s most important job. Much of that work takes place months ahead of time. That’s true in Florida, where the SecState, Laurel Lee, is in charge of the Division of Elections. She is also in charge of, “the division of corporations, library and information services, and the Florida Division of Arts and Culture.”

                All but the first of those have come under direct attack by Florida’s fascist governor and presidential wannabe, Ron DeSantis. I wonder if Lee is resigning because she refused to give DeSantis the election results he wanted.



                • FL Resister says:

                  Alarms are going off everywhere.
                  Luckily we have a lot of smart and dedicated people working round the clock to save our United States of America from the brainwashed hordes of overly-armed, underly-informed militants.

                  Florida chief elections resigns effectively immediately is a spark too bright to be ignored with the Florida August primary and November mid-term coming up in which her boss is also a candidate for re-election. Also known as the next most likely person to get the Republican nomination if the first doofus steps aside, or in DeSantis’ case, not.
                  The GOP brand is now CORRUPTION-R-US. And they’re blasting it loud and clear.

                  PA Lt. Gov. John Fetterman who is running for U.S. Senate gives me hope that Democrats will see diversity within our ranks as a strategic advantage.

    • Randy Baker says:

      If the current House finds the boys in contempt and refers the contempt to DOJ for prosecution, should DOJ elect to prosecute, I see no reason an R takeover of the House should stop the prosecution.

  13. Ddub says:

    Feels like a shot across the bow to me. From reporting here and previous drops of the committee, this feels like a flex going into battle, and that they have the goods.
    Cheney fingerprints on the hardball here. They want them boxed in a corner from the gitgo for neutering purposes.

      • Al Ostello says:

        I know right?

        I am also thankful for Kinzinger, although his lack of intelligence shines every time he speaks. lol (Very limited processing and vocabulary every time)

  14. skua says:

    Wittgenstein said that what he left out of his book was as important as what he included.

    Are there GOP Reps involved in 6Jan plotting who didn’t get subpoenaed?
    (If yes then maybe DoJ has something already in stall for them? Or could there be another explanation?)

    • skua says:

      The cogs turn real slow.

      Can Reps testify to the committee in secret?
      If so then the secret GOrep testifiers won’t have been subpoened. Unless there was a reason to subpoena.

  15. Al Ostello says:

    Glenn Kirschner suspects DOJ will roll those who ignore Jan 6 subpoenas with a conspiracy charge and more (even “Misprision of felony” is a crime that occurs when someone knows a felony has been committed but fails to inform the authorities about it.):

  16. Randy Baker says:

    One silver lining to these fellows’ likely non-compliance: were DOJ to prosecute any of them for offenses related to the attempted coup, I would think their refusal to respond to the subpoenas would be admissible against them as evidence tending to show consciousness of guilt. If they responded to the subpoenas and invoked the Fifth, the prosecution could not introduce their taking the Fifth.

  17. Thomas says:

    The MSM has been repeating, for months, that the Jan 6 Committee will likely not finish the work until after the election and then it will be shut down

    They keep repeating this asinine message over and over like a script.

    I think the only delay is because they are (and have been) coordinating with multiple criminal investigations.

    These subpoenas, I believe, serve the purpose that Dr Wheeler states here. The Committee gave these people the opportunity to voluntarily tell their side of the story, and they refused.

    The subpoenas are issued because the Committee has discovered through other sources that their testimony is relevant.

    The Committee wants to put it on the record that they refuse to cooperate and that they would rather make frivolous and fraudulent claims before a court instead of testifying truthfully.

    The Committee isn’t going to sit and wait for these clowns to run out the clock. They will subpoena them and if they refuse to appear then they will get a criminal referral for that along with whatever other criminal shenanigans they have done.

    The Committee will do its hearings for 9 weeks, Jun through August, and it will make its report, with criminal referrals in September.

    I hope they also vote to expel these crooks from Congress and bar them from ever taking office ever again.

    The Committee, if it is still in existence past September, will likely hold hearings on how to prevent abuses of the electoral system and recommend action by another committee for legislation.

    If the Republicans gain control of Congress HIGHLY UNLIKELY
    then I expect that Congress will pass electoral reform in the lame duck session. Assuming Joe Manchin doesn’t help Republicans vote it down.

    And then the Committee will dissolve. Republicans will not have the option of dissolving it. It won’t exist anymore. It won’t exist in the next Congress regardless of who wins the election.

    As Dr Wheeler says, the Committee will gather evidence, hold hearings, and make referrals and recommendations.

    The DOJ will take it from there. There isn’t any more need of the Committee after that happens.

    How do these idiots in the MSM keep on repeating the script? Do they have brains? Who wrote the script? They say the same script.

    • GonzoDon says:

      Maybe. But I’m old enough to remember when the Mueller Report on Russian interference in our 2020 election was sure to put the nails in the Trump Administration coffin. Or at least provide DOJ with the means and the information to do so.

      So, forgive me if I remain skeptical that Trump & his political cult followers won’t skate away from this whole select investigative committee exercise unscathed. Yet again. It’s an upside-down America in 2022.

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