As the House select committee tasked with investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol prepares to subpoena Donald Trump’s allies to testify on their involvement in the attack, some members are privately hesitant to carry through with the plans because of GOP lawmakers’ threats to retaliate.
As reported by The Guardian, members on the committee have recently become concerned that issuing subpoenas to Trump’s allies, including members of Congress, may be too forceful of a step. With GOP members refusing to comply with the investigation, committee members are hesitant to issue subpoenas, fearing that House Republicans may launch inquiries into Democrats if they retake the chamber.
The committee has requested that Representatives Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Scott Perry (R-Pennsylvania) speak with the investigators, but the Republicans have refused the request. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) has openly balked at the idea of his party complying with the committee’s requests.
The committee wrote to McCarthy on Tuesday asking him to provide more information about his knowledge of the attempted coup. Committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi) has said that McCarthy is of particular interest to the committee because of a phone call he had with Trump on the day of the attack; the committee is questioning whether or not that call could illuminate information related to Trump’s state of mind that day.
Other top officials like Michael Flynn, Trump’s national security adviser, have attempted to sue the committee in order to potentially stave off subpoena requests. Investigators have found that Trump officials and lawmakers have ties to the attack and its planners, but the extent of their participation is still unknown.
Without the voluntary compliance of the Republican officials concerned, subpoenas may be the only route to unveiling certain insider information on the attack to Congress and the public.
However, as the committee weighs whether or not to subpoena GOP officials, Republican lawmakers have already been plotting to launch investigations and other official legislative proceedings targeting Democrats, regardless of the probe into January 6.
If the GOP retakes Congress, some Republicans are planning to launch impeachment proceedings against President Joe Biden; some are threatening to investigate and issue subpoenas over subjects like Biden’s pandemic response, his Afghanistan withdrawal, immigration policies, and even the president’s son, Hunter Biden.
Though legitimate criticisms may be directed toward Biden over many of these subjects – with, perhaps, the exception of Hunter Biden, who has garnered a bizarrely fervent obsession from the right wing – the GOP threats appear to be nothing more than retaliatory moves.
The relative failures on the part of Biden and his cabinet on immigration, COVID response and foreign affairs are similar to those of Trump and his administration; both presidents have failed to quell the pandemic and both have implemented exceedingly cruel immigration policies. It’s unclear what criticisms the GOP could direct toward Biden’s failures that wouldn’t also apply to actions perpetuated and supported by Trump and the Republican Party.
By contrast, the January 6 commission is investigating an attempted coup to invalidate the will of tens of millions of voters that was orchestrated in part by the country’s own Republican president and, potentially, sitting members of Congress. Trump’s impeachment proceedings, meanwhile, investigated offenses by the former president that similarly threatened the fabric of U.S. democracy.