On Sunday, a second House Republican suggested that House minority chairman Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) could soon receive a subpoena to testify if a congressional commission investigated the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol should.
Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) joined former Republican House Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (R-WY), who was ousted from the job on Wednesday, saying that a subpoena for McCarthy was on the table and Dana Bash on State of CNN informed the Union that “I would guess Kevin would be summoned.”
“I would suspect Kevin will be summoned,” as did other members, Fred Upton, Republican of Michigan, said to @DanaBashCNN on @CNNSotu, referring to the January 6 commission and McCarthy’s talks with Trump.
– Manu Raju (@mkraju) May 16, 2021
Cheney suggested a similar note in an interview segment posted on Friday, telling ABC’s Jonathan Karl that McCarthy “absolutely should [testify] and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was summoned. “
“I think he said very clearly and publicly that he had information about the state of mind of the president that day,” Cheney said. “The elements of this commission are exactly as they should be.”
JUST IN: Rep. Liz Cheney tells @jonkarl that House minority leader Kevin McCarthy should testify “absolutely” before any commission investigates the January 6th Capitol uprising.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he was summoned.”
Check out the interview on Sunday on @ThisWeekABC. pic.twitter.com/3D46K3uOeV
– This week (@ThisWeekABC) May 14, 2021
Upton and Cheney were both among ten House Republicans who broke up with McCarthy in January to vote against former President Donald Trump in the wake of the January 6th Capitol Uprising, which killed five people.
Since the attack, members of the House of Representatives who were forced to vacate the Chamber after being stormed by pro-Trump insurgents have debated the possible creation of an independent commission of inquiry, along the lines of that formed after the 9/11 uprising 6th January.
And starting Friday, when the Chairs of the House Homeland Security Committee announced a bipartisan agreement on its formation, that commission looks closer than ever – much to McCarthy’s potential discomfort should he be asked to testify.
In particular, if McCarthy testifies voluntarily or under subpoena as part of the commission’s investigation, he could be faced with the prospect of bridging the rather large gap between Trump – who has shown no inclination to give up his understanding of the Republican Party – and the truth of what happened at the Capitol on January 6th.
As CNN and other outlets have reported – and Pro-Impeachment MP Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) confirmed this in a statement in February – McCarthy spoke to Trump while the uprising was ongoing and asked Trump to join his supporters retrieve.
According to Herrera Beutler, Trump “first repeated the lie that it was Antifa who broke through the Capitol” when he called McCarthy.
Subsequently, Herrera Beutler said in her February statement: “McCarthy has refuted that and told the President that these are Trump supporters. Then, according to McCarthy, the president said, “Well, Kevin, I think these people are more upset about the election than you are.”
Other Republicans have confirmed Trump’s state of mind as the attack unfolded. Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) said: “Donald Trump was walking around the White House puzzled as to why other people on his team weren’t as excited as he was when they had rioters pushing the Capitol Police to get into the White House to get building. “
If McCarthy were asked to back Herrera Beutler’s report on McCarthy-Trump’s appeal to the Commission, it would likely put McCarthy in a difficult position politically as well.
That’s because McCarthy’s call to Trump – which reportedly took place when rioters tried to break the minority leader’s office windows – is a reminder of the true gravity of the January 6 attack and Trump’s support for the mob him as “very special” in a video later that day. It’s also increasingly incongruous with a Republican conference trying to downplay the insurrection and a former president oversensitive to criticism – and it’s hard to imagine McCarthy looking forward to giving a January 6 faithful retelling to a potential commission give.
The commission plan is not yet certain
However, despite Upton and Cheney’s comments, there are still many “ifs” surrounding potential McCarthy statements – like the commission itself. Although Friday’s agreement between House Homeland Security Committee chairman Bennie Thompson (D- MS), and gives senior Commissioner John Katko (R-NY) at least a veneer of non-partisanship, it is less clear how much support the proposal will find with the GOP leadership of the House.
Katko, in particular, is an outlier – one of only 10 Republicans in the House to support the indictment against Trump – and his conference has just purged the only member of the leadership, Cheney, who also voted to charge Trump with incitement to insurrection.
For now, McCarthy has yet to decide for or against the plan – he told reporters on Friday that he didn’t approve the deal and would like to see more details – but a vote on the measure could take place “as early as next week.” ”According to the statement published by Thompson.
“Inaction – or just moving on – is just not an option,” Thompson said on Friday. “In creating this commission, we are taking responsibility for protecting the US Capitol. … we owe it to the Capitol Police and everyone who enters our Citadel of Democracy to investigate the attack. “
There are also questions as to whether a McCarthy summons could come about even if the commission is set up in its proposed form.
McCarthy will likely have a say in choosing half the commission
According to the statement released by Thompson on Friday, the independent commission would consist of a total of 10 members appointed by a non-partisan, bicameral leadership group – five by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer ( D-NY). including the committee chair and five from McCarthy himself and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), including a vice chair.
According to Thompson, none of these members can be seated members of Congress or current government employees, and all must have “significant expertise in law enforcement, civil rights, civil liberties, privacy, intelligence and cybersecurity.”
The negotiations between McCarthy and McConnell – one who still speaks to Trump regularly and the other who doesn’t say his name – about the 5 GOP commissioners are going to be … interesting
NOTE: “Current government officials or employees may not be appointed.”
– Jonathan Martin (@jmartNYT) May 14, 2021
Although the Commission, in its proposed form, would have subpoena powers, the actual issuance of a subpoena would require at least limited bipartisan consensus – either an agreement between the Chair and Vice-Chair or a simple majority vote.
In other words, McCarthy will have a direct hand in selecting enough commissioners to block the subpoena process if they vote as a block, which could make Upton and Cheney’s proposal to summon McCarthy at best an aspiration.
The Republican Conference is trying to whitewash the uprising
If the Commission’s proposal for a final report and “recommendations to prevent future attacks on our democratic institutions” is carried out by the end of this calendar year, it could be a valuable reminder of what actually happened January 6th – something to be done about some Republicans of the house appear increasingly blurry.
In the past week alone, the GOP’s efforts to whitewash the uprising that injured 140 law enforcement officers have shifted into high gear.
For example, on Wednesday, Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA) said in a committee hearing about the attack: “There has been no riot and I think it’s a bold lie to call it a riot.”
“Watching televisions of those who entered the Capitol and walked through the Statue Hall showed the people hanging around the stanchions and ropes in an orderly fashion, taking videos and pictures,” said Clyde. “You know, if you didn’t know that the TV footage was a January 6th video, you’d actually think it was a normal tourist visit.”
I want to reiterate how crazy it is for Andrew Clyde to say this. Bonkers. One of the craziest things I’ve heard about Congress in a dozen years. https://t.co/8Xlzwx2uXl
– Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) May 13, 2021
Clyde is not alone – again this week Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) said that “there is no evidence that it was an armed insurrection,” and Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) described the insurgents as “peaceful patriots”. ”
MP Paul Gosar offers an unequivocal defense of the January 6 insurgents, describing them as “peaceful patriots” being “harassed” by the DOJ pic.twitter.com/b4Ijgvfz3V
– Aaron Rupar (atrupar), May 12, 2021
Needless to say, all three statements (and there are several others who have only been heading in the same vein this week) are absolutely wrong – and there is ample video evidence to prove it.
In addition to all of the footage that has already emerged from the riot – much of which is graphic and disturbing – CNN just received a new bodycam video this week showing a DC Metropolitan police officer Michael Fanone being killed by the crowd is attacked.
According to CNN, Fanone was “stunned and beaten with a flagpole several times” by Trump supporters. He also suffered a “minor” heart attack, according to the Washington Post, and at least one insurgent shouted for the mob to “kill” [Fanone] with his own gun! “
As the Washington Post editors argued on Friday, it is not certain that the 9/11 commission agreed by Thompson and Katko will prevent Republicans from publishing a false, January 6th, revisionist report.
“But,” writes the board, “as [the commission] Answers open questions about how the uprising took place and who was responsible – in part, we hope the panel should make it harder for Republicans by sharing the affidavit of House Minority Chairman Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and other lawmakers take eyewitnesses to twist the truth. “
Upton himself made the same point: in the same CNN interview on Sunday, he told Bash that his colleagues’ claims that the attack was “peaceful” were “absolutely false”.
“I saw the gallows that were being built on the eastern front of the Capitol,” said Upton. “It was cold, what happened, absolutely cold. And that’s why I think it’s important that we push this bipartisan commission forward. “