Subpoenas are a real concern for lawmakers facing January 6 issues
Lawmakers who may have been involved in planning the January 6 rallies are under scrutiny for their roles, questioning whether the committee investigating the attack on Capitol Hill could take the historic step of subpoenaing them. current members of Congress.
A Sunday Rolling Stone story did not directly link Republican lawmakers to the violent assault, but two sources who cooperate with the committee instead detailed several meetings with members of Congress to coordinate the contestation of the election results and plan. the gatherings that preceded the attack.
They described “dozens” of planning briefings, adding that those who have attended or sent the best staff include GOP representatives. Marjorie Taylor GreeneMarjorie Taylor GreeneGOP’s Efforts to Minimize Danger of Increased Riots on Capitol Hill The Memo: What Now for Anti-Trump Republicans? Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene says she will meet Trump ‘soon’ in Florida MORE (Georgia.), Paul GosarPaul Anthony Gosar Anti-Trump Republicans target McCarthy, Scalise, and other leading Tories Democrats say GOP lawmakers involved on Jan.6 should be kicked out. (Arizona.), Lauren BoebertLauren Boebert Anti-Trump Republicans Target McCarthy, Scalise, Other High-profile Tories (Colombia), Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson BrooksSenate GOP Sides Behind Trump-Backed Candidates Mo Brooks Says He Would Be ‘Proud’ If Staff Help Organize Jan. 6 Rally The Hill’s Morning Report – Brought to you by Facebook – Budget Negotiators : 72 hours and more (Alabama), Madison Cawthorn (NC), Andy Biggs (Arizona) and Louie gohmertLouis (Louie) Buller Gohmert After 35 years, Congress should finally end the sentence disparity between crack and powder cocaine. (Texas.).
Committee lawmakers have often repeated a refrain left by the dismissals of former President TrumpDonald Trump Candidates sue after Pennsylvania County sent hundreds of ballots to wrong address Harris makes final pitch for McAuliffe Overnight Defense & National Security – that no one is above the law. Many have said that even the former president’s subpoena is on the table.
But with their own colleagues, the Jan. 6 panel must follow a delicate line, balancing legal rights with political calculations.
“People involved in an armed attack do not get immunity from investigation just because they are members of Congress. If they participated in the organization and the establishment and did not act to stop the use of violence if they thought that violence was going to happen, these are very meritorious subjects of investigation by the committee. January 6, ”said Neil Eggleston, lawyer at Kirkland & Ellis, who was also a White House adviser to the former president obamaBarack Hussein Obama Don’t let China distract us from Russia Biden appoints Sara Minkara as US special adviser on international disability rights Fox poll shows Youngkin leads McAuliffe by 8 points among likely voters MORE and as legal advisor to the House committee investigating the Iran-Contra case.
“I can’t think of a legal compulsion on the committee to investigate the role of members of Congress. In some ways, the constraints are probably more political and political – they don’t tend to investigate each other, ”he added.
The committee focused on planning various gatherings on January 6.
He subpoenaed a number of people associated with Women for America First, which organized the rally near the White House with Trump, as well as those associated with the Stop the Steal rally which obtained a permit for the Capitol Lawn.
The panel also subpoenaed the former White House chief of staff Marc des meadowsMark Meadows Jan. Committee 6 grants deferrals to Jeffrey Clark, Dan Scavino and Madison Cawthorn to join House Freedom Caucus Financial Self-Operation Rots Our Government MORE, asking him to provide information on his coordination with those involved in the planning of the rally.
The committee also called on telecommunications and social media companies to retain documents relating to January 6 – including communications from lawmakers. This prompted the House Minority Leader Kevin mccarthyKevin McCarthy Watch live: McCarthy holds a weekly press conference. (R-Calif.) To warn businesses that the GOP “won’t forget” if they comply with the directive.
“We knew immediately after the 6th that these members were meeting with White House staff. They didn’t just protest against the Electoral College; some spoke at the rally on January 6, ”a source close to the committee told The Hill.
“These members were still going to be part of this investigation,” the source added.
Panels such as the ethics committees of both houses have clear subpoena power over lawmakers, although this has primarily been used to secure documents, not depositions, as the Jan. 6 committee did. asked with other helpers.
It is possible that the committee would start by asking lawmakers to speak voluntarily with the committee, but it is not clear that Republican lawmakers would. All but nine Republicans in the House voted against censorship of former Trump White House strategist Stephen Bannon for defying a subpoena when he failed to show up for his deposition planned.
“This is terra incognita, and there seems to be little or no precedent for bringing a member before an oversight committee,” a former member of the main committee of a panel with an executive told The Hill. ‘a power of subpoena.
“My suspicion is that the biggest problem is this: what if [Jan. 6 committee Chairman Bennie] Thompson [D-Miss.] subpoena McCarthy, for example, and the Minority Leader refuses to show up? Will the Sergeant-at-Arms be sent to arrest him? East [Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Health Care — Presented by Altria — Young children one step closer to vaccine Progressives see infrastructure vote next week On The Money — The big business wins in Build Back Better MORE (D-Calif.)] will act to enforce the summons? The House is a powder keg right now, and the Speaker is a very intelligent person who has seen a lot in his decades on the Hill. She will think long and hard about using an already politically charged process devoid of “real” bipartisan credentials as a means of bringing her GOP colleagues to appear in public as witnesses. It would set a precedent that would harm the institution and seriously affect the Democrats’ ability to deliver on their agenda. “
But Eggleston said such precedent-setting concerns are overblown.
“It hasn’t happened since the Civil War that there has been an armed insurgency against the United States government, so it’s not like this sort of thing happens very often. I don’t think it creates a valve problem because these are unusual circumstances, ”he said.
Republican lawmakers in Bannon’s vote rallied behind McCarthy’s assertion that this was an “invalid” subpoena, arguing that the committee’s subpoena power is limited by the need to have a purpose legislative, while other matters should be dealt with by law enforcement agencies.
“These arguments applied to this investigation don’t seem to hold water,” said Joshua Levy, partner of Levy Firestone Muse who has taught a Congressional Investigations course at Georgetown Law for more than a decade.
“The objective of the January 6 committee is not to conduct a criminal investigation. This is to conduct a congressional investigation into an attack on its property, members, staff and other employees, the power transition and the potential and actual ramifications for the legislation, be it Capitol security, whether it was the oversight of the branch executive and its involvement in one of the acts of violence that took place that day. The area of inquiry of this committee extends beyond what the Department of Justice [Department of Justice] investigation with a view to criminal prosecution.
Levy and Eggleston agreed that the speech or debate clause – which prohibits questioning of members “in any other place” – would likely offer little protection to members seeking to circumvent a subpoena.
Eggleston said the clause makes it clear that members can therefore still be questioned by their own chambers, while all protections are “limited to legislative conduct.”
“What is being investigated is the extent to which they aided the insurgency and the attack on Capitol Hill, and that is by no means part of the legislative process,” he said. -he declares.
Levy said the clause is also not considered absolute, as courts have allowed members to be questioned about “conduct that fell outside the realm of legitimate legislative activity.”
“The clause on its own terms in law does not appear to prevent a committee of Congress from serving and executing a subpoena against a sitting member of Congress,” he said.
But he said the case has yet to be tested in court and any litigation could drag on.
“It is possible that the addressees of subpoenas decide that it is worth taking the risk of contempt or engaging in some other type of litigation to delay cooperation with the committee and play against the clock,” Levy said.
“This is not a new tactic,” he added.