The January 6 Committee just upped the ante in its bid to get Kevin McCarthy and some MAGA colleagues to testify, under oath and on the record, about what they know and what they did before, during and after the January 6th insurrection.
In addition to Rep. McCarthy, the other members subpoenaed are Reps. Jim Jordan, Andy Biggs, Mo Brooks and Scott Perry.
The Washington Post explains the significance:
Until Thursday, the committee had been reluctant to subpoena GOP lawmakers because of a variety of issues, including time constraints — a protracted fight could last beyond the November midterm elections — and fears of retribution if Republicans win back the House majority, which many Democrats privately believe will happen.
Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), a member of the committee, said the five lawmakers subpoenaed Thursday have “some of the most pertinent information for the committee” as it investigates the Jan. 6 attack.
“These are people who participated in the rally, were on the phone with the president, who the president reportedly told to rescind the election and one of whom may have been pursuing pardons for those involved,” Schiff told reporters at the Capitol. “It’s hard to imagine witnesses with more directly relevant evidence for our committee and more important information for the American people.”
We all know none of them will cooperate. But that may not work out well for them. Since McCarthy threw his temper tantrum and pulled all his picks for the committee, there will be no MAGA allies when the committee begins its hearings next month. And, as the Post also noted, the committee has interviewed so many people, received so many tips and documents, that it probably already knows a heck of a lot about what these people did.
There is little doubt that when its public hearings start next month, the committee will paint the failure to cooperate as a sign that the five have something to hide.
Congressman Eric Swalwell is not a member of the January 6 committee but he gave us a taste of the possible messaging when he spoke with Chris Hayes Thursday evening.
SWALWELL: Shouldn't their oaths have been enough, Chris? Every citizen's responsibility when they witness a crime is to cooperate with authorities. This is the greatest crime against the constitution we've ever seen. The most amount of arrests ever for a single act, and these individuals have information. And, so shouldn't their oath to the office that they serve when they raised the right hand and were sworn in on January three, just three days before the insurrection, shouldn't that have been enough?
It clearly wasn't. They were asked to come in voluntarily, they refused to do so. And drastic times calls for drastic measures. This was a day we nearly lost our democracy, our freedom, our right to vote, and have that vote mean something. And if they don't want to cooperate, then we are going to have to press them with legal subpoenas.
Swalwell said the committee has several options if and when McCarthy, et al. fail to cooperate. “But most importantly,” he said, it means that "they have something to hide" and it's “an inference of guilt."
Hayes brought up the question of what Republicans will do to retaliate if they take back the House in November. McCarthy has already threatened to strip Swalwell of his committee assignments as payback for Democrats stripping the committee assignments of Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar.
“They're going to do that anyway,” Swalwell said. He said he told the January 6 committee not to hold back in the belief that they would be protecting him or Adam Schiff or Ilhan Omar. “They're trying to write the laws in a way where they would never have to give up power” he said and they might have enough votes to decertify an election in the future. “That really concerns me more than what retaliatory measures they would take against me, or any of my colleagues.”
It's going to be interesting.