Three more House Republicans reject Jan. 6 committee request to testify voluntarily
Updated May 2, 2022 at 2:01 PM ET
The House select Jan. 6 committee wants to talk to additional lawmakers with ties to the day of the attack on the Capitol, and on Monday sent letters asking House Republican Reps. Mo Brooks of Alabama, Andy Biggs of Arizona and Ronny Jackson of Texa to appear.
The new requests follow revelations by the members themselves, such as in Brooks' case, and reports of their texts to former President Trump's Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who turned over thousands of his personal messages to the panel late last year.
"The Select Committee has learned that several of our colleagues have information relevant to our investigation into the facts, circumstances, and causes of January 6th," Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said in a joint statement.
They called cooperation a "patriotic duty" and urged Brooks, Biggs and Jackson to join the long list of witnesses who have testified. So far, the panel has interviewed more than 930 individuals.
Brooks, who is running for an open Senate seat in his state, has recently drawn interest after Trump withdrew his endorsement in that Republican primary. In March, Brooks issued a statement that Trump pressured him to overturn the presidential election, remove President Biden from office and force a special new election.
"The exchange you have disclosed with the former President is directly relevant to the subject of our inquiry, and it appears to provide additional evidence of President Trump's intent to restore himself to power through unlawful means," the panel said in the letter to Brooks.
Along with looking into how Biggs was tied to planning for the Jan. 6 rally and how he worked to overturn the presidential election's results, the committee is raising questions about his interest in a presidential pardon related to the siege.
"We would like to understand all the details of a request for a pardon, more specific reasons why a pardon was sought, and the scope of the proposed pardon," it said in the letter to Biggs.
For Johnson, the committee is investigating text messages exchanged among members of the far-right extremist group Oath Keepers and their leader Stewart Rhodes that discussed providing protection during the riot for him and for "critical data" he supposedly possessed.
"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? With whom did you speak by cell phone that day?" were among the questions in the letter to Jackson.
The committee's previous appeals for other Republican lawmakers to appear - House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, Pennsylvania Rep. Scott Perry and Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan - were all declined.
McCarthy said in January the panel's objective was to damage its political opponents.
"And now it wants to interview me about public statements that have been shared with the world, and private conversations not remotely related to the violence that unfolded at the Capitol. I have nothing else to add," he said.
But a spate of those private conversations did indeed become public recently, tied to a book by two New York Times reporters. In three different conversations after the attack, McCarthy was heard saying he wanted to urge Trump to resign, that Trump admitted responsibility for Jan. 6 and that he feared that members of his caucus were fueling dangerous rhetoric.
Those conversations are of interest to the panel. For example, in its Jan. 22 letter, the committee wanted to talk to McCarthy about his remarks on the House floor days after the attack when he said Trump "bears responsibility."
As for Jordan, the panel has said it wants to learn more about his contact with Trump directly and his legal team ahead of the siege. The committee also wanted to talk to Perry about his involvement in help install former Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark as acting U.S. attorney general.
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