House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy demanded Democrats running the Select Committee on Jan. 6 preserve all records as the panel prepares to close its investigation.
On Tuesday, committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., told reporters the probe is “close to putting pens down” on its final report, which is expected to be published by the end of the year. McCarthy, who was nominated by Republicans for the speaker’s gavel after capturing the lower chamber, has pledged to shut down the select committee on the first day of the new Congress in January.
In a letter to Thompson on Wednesday, McCarthy reiterated that the committee would come to an end on Jan. 3 and reminded the chairman to “preserve all records collected and transcripts of testimony taken during your investigation.”
The demand for records preservation comes a week after committee staff told The Washington Post that lawmakers were planning to omit material running counter to the anti-Trump narrative driven by Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the panel.
“Fifteen former and current staffers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, expressed concerns that important findings unrelated to Trump will not become available to the American public,” the Post reported. “Several committee staff members were floored earlier this month when they were told that a draft report would focus almost entirely on Trump and the work of the committee’s Gold Team, excluding reams of other investigative work.”
McCarthy highlighted that the planned omissions are subject to congressional oversight.
“It is clear based on recent news reports that even your own members and staff of the Committee have no visibility into the totality of the investigation,” McCarthy wrote. “It is imperative that all information collected be preserved not just for institutional prerogatives but for transparency to the American people.”
The speaker-elect also made clear that witnesses who testified were subject to federal statutes that outlaw lies to Congress.
“The American people have a right to know that the allegations you have made are supported by the facts and to be able to view the transcripts with an eye towards encouraged enforcement of 18 USC 1001,” McCarthy wrote.
Since June, the committee held nine hearings that featured witnesses who testified in show trial proceedings without representation from the minority Republican Party. Each made claims without cross-examination in defiance of congressional norms. Cassidy Hutchinson, a former White House aide under former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, made claims later contradicted by her supposed sources within the Secret Service, such as allegations that President Donald Trump attempted a violent hijacking of the presidential vehicle to drive himself to the Capitol.
According to the Associated Press, the select committee interviewed more than 1,000 witnesses over the course of its 18-month investigation.
McCarthy himself was subpoenaed by the committee in May but refused to comply with requests from the politicized probe. The House counsel who served the subpoena to the Republican minority leader came under fire for conflicts of interest.