The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack extended requests for testimony yesterday to three House Republicans: Arizona’s Andy Biggs, Alabama’s Mo Brooks, and Texas’ Ronny Jackson. Each of the lawmakers has unique insights and is in a position to answer key questions.
Each of the GOP congressmen also prefer to remain silent: Biggs, Brooks, and Jackson issued separate statements yesterday, announcing that they would refuse to speak to the bipartisan panel.
To be sure, this wasn’t surprising. In fact, the news was entirely in line with recent history: The Jan. 6 committee sent similar requests in recent months to three other House Republicans — Pennsylvania’s Scott Perry, Ohio’s Jim Jordan, and California’s Kevin McCarthy — and they also refused to cooperate.
But what stood out was the rationale yesterday’s trio used when thumbing their noses at investigators. First up was Jackson’s statement, which read in part:
“Yet again, the illegitimate January 6 Committee proves its agenda is malicious and not substantive.... I will not participate in the illegitimate Committee’s ruthless crusade against President Trump and his allies.”
Soon after, Biggs issued a related statement via Twitter
“I will not be participating in the illegitimate and Democrat-sympathizing House Jan. 6 committee panel. The committee has been a sham since its origins.”
Late yesterday, Brooks added some thoughts of his own:
“I wouldn’t help Nancy Pelosi and Liz Cheney cross the street — I’m definitely not going to help them and their partisan Witch Hunt Committee.... At this moment in time, right before an Alabama U.S. Senate election, if they want to talk, they’re gonna have to send me a subpoena, which I will fight.”
To hear the GOP trio tell it, the House select committee isn’t a real committee, and as such, they don’t see the need to help the bipartisan panel by answering its questions.
The problem, of course, is that there’s literally no evidence to detract from the legitimacy of this investigation.
As regular readers know, there is a process through which House members create select committees, and it involves the full chamber approving a resolution to create a panel and giving it the legal authority to issue subpoenas.
The House held such a vote last summer, approved the creation of the committee, and members from both parties were seated in accordance with the resolution.
In the months that followed, several federal judges — from district and circuit courts — have recognized the legitimacy of the investigatory committee and its work. In fact, earlier this year, when a federal judge had to consider the validity of the Jan. 6 panel, District Court Judge David Carter said in his ruling, “The public interest here is weighty and urgent.... Congress seeks to understand the causes of a grave attack on our nation’s democracy and a near-successful attempt to subvert the will of the voters.”
This week — literally the day before Biggs, Brooks, and Jackson dismissed the legitimacy of the Jan. 6 committee’s work — Judge Tim Kelly, a Trump appointee, also used a ruling to endorse the validity of the panel and its subpoenas.
Republicans can keep throwing around the word “illegitimate,” but that doesn’t make it so.