House Republican leader McCarthy questions validity of Jan. 6 subpoena

(Bloomberg) — House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy has refused to comply with a subpoena, testifying before a congressional panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riots — questioning his legal authority to even issue a subpoena.

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On Friday, a letter detailing McCarthy’s objections accused Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi of breaking precedent by refusing to allow minority parties to choose their own representatives on the committee. It also alleges that the group was involved in other violations of House rules and precedent.

“The select committee clearly did not act within any legislative purpose,” attorney Elliott Burke wrote on behalf of McCarthy. “Its only goal appears to be to try to gain political points or damage its political opponents — behaving like the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee one day and the Justice Department the next.”

The letter to committee chairman Benny Thompson did not make it clear that McCarthy would not comply. But just as he, Jordan and other Republicans were allies of former President Donald Trump — Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Mo Brooks of Alabama and Andy Biggs of Arizona – This week started past the date they were summoned. testify. No one has ever done that.

There was no immediate response from Mississippi Democrat Thompson and the committee’s spokesman, Tim Mulvey or Pelosi’s office.

One of the main legal challenges in Burke’s letter was the resolution that created the committee — H.Res. 503 – Provides that “The Speaker shall appoint 13 members to the Select Committee, 5 of whom shall be appointed after consultation with the minority leader.”

But the panel has only nine members, and only two Republicans — and both were elected by Pelosi following controversy over her rejection of some of McCarthy’s appointees.

Republican Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming — Trump’s opponent — has been the committee’s vice chairman. Another Republican is Illinois Rep. Adam Kinsinger.

In addition to alleging that Pelosi did not properly form the committee, the letter states that “the subsequent decision to deny the minority, even the representation of members of the ranking minority, is consistent with the select committee’s subpoena authority and the House’s subsequent right to forensic impossibility. of.”

The attorneys also asked the committee for some responses, including a list of topics and topics discussed with leaders, as well as the constitutional and legal basis to justify the request — and the minority ranking members who were consulted before issuing the subpoena” as H.Res Demands 503 .”

McCarthy and Jordan wrote in a Wall Street Journal guest editorial Thursday night that it would set a harmful precedent if he and four other Republicans complied with subpoenas to testify.

“House GOP leaders agree to engage in this political stunt that will change the House forever,” the pair wrote, adding that their subpoena “is a dangerous abuse of power, has no legitimate legislative purpose, and undermines constitutional norms. “

Whether this will trigger a legal showdown is uncertain. The committee held contempt of Congress against four other non-lawmakers who rejected its subpoena, including Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon and Trump’s last White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

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