The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack subpoenaed House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and four other Republican members of Congress on Thursday for testimony about events surrounding the Capitol riot and efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
McCarthy and the other members -- Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Mo Brooks of Alabama and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania -- had rejected the committee's voluntary requests for cooperation in recent months.
"Before we hold our hearings next month, we wished to provide members the opportunity to discuss these matters with the committee voluntarily," Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said in a statement regarding the subpoenas. "Regrettably, the individuals receiving subpoenas today have refused and we're forced to take this step to help ensure the committee uncovers facts concerning January 6th. We urge our colleagues to comply with the law, do their patriotic duty, and cooperate with our investigation as hundreds of other witnesses have done."
In Thompson's letter informing McCarthy of the subpoena, which the committee chair released to the media, Thompson said, in part, "The Select Committee has tremendous respect respect for the prerogatives of Congress and the privacy of its members. At the same time, we have a solemn responsibility to investigate fully the fact and circumstances of the violent attack on the United States Capitol and issues relating to the peaceful transfer of power."
The subpoenas mark a dramatic escalation in the committee's tactics and follow weeks of internal debate over whether to try to force Republicans to testify behind closed doors about their conversations with former President Donald Trump and involvement in various parts of the effort to overturn the election and contest the certification of the results.
The Republican members are unlikely to comply with the requests, which could prompt a legal -- and, at minimum, political -- battle with McCarthy and other lawmakers who are expected to be in the majority next year and in position to seek retribution.
The committee is expected to begin a series of public hearings on their investigation next month, ahead of issuing a final report on their inquiry in the fall. The report will be the product of nearly 1,000 interviews, and tens of thousands of pages of records obtained by investigators.