(Bloomberg) -- House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy says a harmful precedent would be set if he and four other Republicans complied with their subpoenas to testify from the congressional panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the Capitol.
“For House Republican leaders to agree to participate in this political stunt would change the House forever,” McCarthy and fellow House Republican Jim Jordan insist in a Wall Street Journal guest editorial.
A committee spokesman, Tim Mulvey, had no response.
The column, posted Thursday night, comes as McCarthy, Jordan, and the other subpoenaed Republicans who are allies of former President Donald Trump -- Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Mo Brooks of Alabama and Andy Biggs of Arizona -- this week began to hit dates by which they were subpoenaed earlier this month to testify, but none have done so.
Whether this sets up a legal showdown is uncertain. The committee has pressed contempt of Congress action against four other non-lawmakers who have snubbed its subpoenas, including onetime Trump adviser Steve Bannon and Trump’s last White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows.
McCarthy argues with Jordan that coercing information from sitting members of Congress about their official duties “is a dangerous abuse of power, serves no legitimate legislative purpose, and eviscerates constitutional norms.”
“Every representative in the minority would be subject to compelled interrogations by the majority, under oath, without any foundation of fairness, and at the expense of taxpayers. The American people deserve better than Democrats’ weaponization of its majority rule,” the lawmakers write.
The offices of Biggs and Perry, who were to testify Thursday, did not respond Friday for comment. Brooks’ office also did not respond to comment about his scheduled Tuesday testimony under subpoena, the same day McCarthy was to appear. Jordan was to testify Friday, but wrote the committee this week demanding it turn over material to him first.
McCarthy and Jordan make an argument made also in legal action on behalf of Bannon in his efforts to overturn contempt of Congress action and legal prosecution he faces for ignoring a Jan. 6 committee subpoenas -- that the committee of seven Democrats and two Republican was not properly set-up.
“Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected Republicans’ chosen members, violating more than 232 years of House precedent, and also declined to appoint the required 13 members,” they write.
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