A pair of top House Republicans subpoenaed by the Select Committee on Jan. 6 in an extraordinary escalation of the probe’s witch-hunt proceedings slammed the investigation as illegitimate in a joint op-ed on Thursday.
Writing in The Wall Street Journal, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan told of the drawn-out battle with the committee over compelled cooperation after J6 panel members subpoenaed the pair plus three Republican colleagues earlier this month.
“While Americans are struggling to put gas in the tank and food on the table, Democrats are busy weaponizing government to attack Republicans,” McCarthy and Jordan wrote. “With no effective check on its power, the Select Committee is trampling on fundamental Constitutional rights. It is investigating the political speech of private citizens and demanding access to their personal records and private communications.”
The pair railed against the committee for being illegitimate after Speaker Nancy Pelosi barred Republican appointments. Her deputies have continued to operate in secrecy, refusing to share documents with colleagues across the aisle.
“Rather than operating openly, the Select Committee is working behind closed doors and selectively leaking cherry-picked information,” they wrote. In recent weeks, the committee has repeatedly leaked personal exchanges between private citizens to smear political dissidents.
“When it has presented some evidence in public, the committee’s been caught deliberately altering documents—including a text message pertaining to one of us—to malign conservatives,” they added, referring to Federalist reporting when the probe was caught manipulating texts between Jordan and former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. “One would expect this sort of inquiry from a banana republic, not from the U.S. House of Representatives.”
The joint op-ed previews a refusal from Republican lawmakers to offer sworn testimony to the committee after denying voluntary participation, which was requested earlier this year. Conflicts of interest were raised when the members received subpoenas two weeks ago, as the House counsel responsible for representing lawmakers simultaneously signed off on their authorization.
“This attempt to coerce information from members of Congress about their official duties is a dangerous abuse of power, serves no legitimate legislative purpose, and eviscerates constitutional norms,” McCarthy and Jordan wrote. “Even if the Jan. 6 Select Committee was acting in good faith, we have no relevant information that would assist in advancing its legislative purpose. Democrats know this because we told them in January.”
The five Republicans in the lower chamber are among the hundreds of others who have been subpoenaed even though they have no connection to the Capitol riot; they’re simply political dissidents Democrats seek to punish. One subpoena even targeted a political operative working to unseat Committee Vice-Chair Liz Cheney in Wyoming and was not involved in any capital events on Jan. 6 whatsoever.
The committee is now in the process of moving to the “public phase” ahead of the November midterms, an election cycle that is traditionally hostile to the party in the White House. Democrats on the probe conceded to The Washington Post that the committee’s work was all about the midterms, as they hope to revive interest in the 17-month-old riot with televised hearings. The first major hearing of the summer is scheduled for June 9.