Jan. 6 panel seeks info from three GOP House members
The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol sent letters on Monday to three House Republicans, seeking their testimony: Reps. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) and Ronny Jackson (R-Texas).
Why it matters: The letters mark an escalation in the committee members' efforts to extract information from their Republican colleagues, doubling the total number of members sought out by the panel.
- The first three lawmakers they sought to question were House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Freedom Caucus chair Scott Perry and House Judiciary Committee ranking member Jim Jordan.
- All three have refused to appear voluntarily before the panel.
- Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the chair of the committee, told Axios last week it is still weighing subpoenas.
Driving the news: The letter to Jackson, a close ally of former President Trump who once served as his personal physician and medical advisor, includes texts between members of the far-right Oath Keepers, one of the groups involved in the attack.
- In the texts, dated the afternoon of Jan. 6, unidentified group members wrote that Jackson "needs [Oath Keeper] help" and "needs protection" because he has "critical data to protect."
- "Help with what?" Stewart Rhodes, the group's leader, texted back. "Give him my cell."
- "Why would these individuals have an interest in your specific location? Why would they believe you ‘have critical data to protect?’ Why would they direct their members to protect your personal safety?" Thompson writes to Jackson.
Go deeper: The other letters cite recent revelations about the members' involvement in Jan. 6 — dredged up either in testimony from other witnesses or by the public comments of the members themselves.
- The letter to Brooks points to his public claims that Trump asked him to "rescind the 2020 elections" — allegations made after Trump pulled his endorsement of Brooks' U.S. Senate candidacy.
- The letter to Biggs cites testimony from an aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows that he was involved in meetings in the run-up to Jan. 6 where lawmakers and staffers discussed strategies to overturn the election.
- It also cites texts Biggs sent Meadows on recruiting legislators to help overturn the election, allegations that he was involved in planning a Jan. 6 rally, and his reported efforts to receive a presidential pardon for his involvement in Jan. 6.
What they're saying: "We urge our colleagues to join the hundreds of individuals who have shared information with the Select Committee," Thompson and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the panel's vice chair, said in a statement.
The other side: "I will not participate in the illegitimate Committee’s ruthless crusade against President Trump and his allies," Jackson said in a statement to Axios.
- "I do not know, nor did I have contact with, those who exchanged text messages about me on January 6," he added.
What's next: More requests to members could be in the works, if Thompson's public comments are any indication.
- He said at the Capitol last week this tranche of requests would cover more than three lawmakers and include senators.
- A committee spokesperson declined to comment on the record.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with a statement from Rep. Ronny Jackson.