Top Dem signals possible legal moves against McCarthy, Republicans over unprecedented Jan. 6 subpoenas

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House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer Thursday signaled that the chamber may take legal action against Republican members if they don’t comply with a subpoena from the Jan. 6 Committee, as those members signal they may not. 

The Jan. 6 Committee Thursday issued subpoenas to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Scott Perry, R-Pa., Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., and Mo Brooks, R-Ala. The committee said those members “have information relevant to our investigation into the attack on January 6th and the events leading up to it.”

“Nobody’s above the law,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told Fox News Digital Thursday. 

Top Dem signals possible legal moves against McCarthy, Republicans over unprecedented Jan. 6 subpoenas

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., speaks during the House Democrats press conference on Wednesday, July 22, 2020, on legislation to remove the bust of bust of Chief Justice Roger Taney and Confederate Statues from the U.S. Capitol. 
(Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

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“We’ll pursue the same actions we’d pursue with anybody else who’d refuse,” he added when asked about the possibility the Republicans who are the target of the subpoenas don’t comply. “If you’re prepared to tell the truth, why would you care? If you’re not prepared to tell the truth, it may be a concern to you.”

The Jan. 6 Committee has been issuing subpoenas for months as it investigates the origins of the violent Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol by a mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters. But Thursday is the first time it subpoenaed sitting members of Congress — and the first time any congressional committee subpoenaed sitting members in U.S. history. 

Top Dem signals possible legal moves against McCarthy, Republicans over unprecedented Jan. 6 subpoenas

Supporters of President Donald Trump climb the west wall of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.
((AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana))

The House GOP targets of Thursday’s subpoenas are already signaling that they’re unlikely to comply willingly. 

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McCarthy told reporters Thursday that the committee is “not conducting a legitimate investigation,” and did not answer separate questions on whether he would comply with the subpoena. In an interview on “America Reports,” Biggs similarly railed against the committee without explicitly saying he wouldn’t comply. 

Top Dem signals possible legal moves against McCarthy, Republicans over unprecedented Jan. 6 subpoenas

In this April 22, 2021, file photo, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., speaks during his weekly press briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

“I think the committee is illegitimate. I thought it was that way when it started,” Biggs said. “And they don’t really have the authority… to issue subpoenas, in my opinion.”

Jordan also indicated he may not comply with the subpoena. Perry tweeted that the committee is an “illegitimate body” and called the subpoenas “their latest charade.”

The subpoenas are likely to tip off a lengthy legal fight over whether the Republican members need to comply. The House could also vote to hold those members in contempt of Congress and refer them to the Department of Justice for prosecution. 

Top Dem signals possible legal moves against McCarthy, Republicans over unprecedented Jan. 6 subpoenas

In this Jan. 6, 2021 file photo, violent protesters, loyal to former President Donald Trump, storm the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

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With the midterms coming up soon and Republicans generally expected to take control of the House, it’s not clear any legal fight over the subpoenas would be resolved by the time the next Congress begins. 

But the committee will begin public hearings next month, during which it can weave a narrative about Jan. 6, Trump’s alleged role in it through false claims the election was stolen, and whether other Republicans are also culpable. 

Fox News’ Chad Pergram and Ryan Kenny contributed to this report. 

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