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Jan. 6 commission refutes disputes over legitimacy, citing Katrina and Benghazi investigations


At the heart of complaints from Trump’s allies is Pelosi’s decision to dismiss two of the five people appointed by Parliamentary Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy – Reps Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Jim Banks (R-Ind.) – who Pelosi said were too closely tied to Trump to be credible investigators. McCarthy then withdrew his other three named in protest and has boycotted the panel ever since.

Trump allies faced with subpoenas from the committee have pointed out the absence of GOP-appointed members as evidence the committee is functioning poorly and have repeatedly pointed this out in court records. They say House rules for subpoenas and depositions require consultation between majority and minority members, which is impossible for a panel that does not have official members appointed by the GOP – the two Republicans on the committee, Reps Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger. (R-Ill.), Were installed by Pelosi.

But Letter noted that the January 6 resolution creating the committee explicitly gave Pelosi the power to appoint all of its members. These same rules contemplate the possibility of vacancies and do not require the panel to be closed simply because it does not have a full list of members.

Perhaps more importantly, Letter argues, Republicans filed no formal objections when the House debated and voted on two key actions of the Jan.6 select committee: resolutions holding Trump advisers Mark Meadows and Steve Bannon in favor. criminal contempt of Congress. Republicans could have raised official “points of order” challenging the validity of the select committee at the time, Letter noted, but they failed to do so and both resolutions passed – with a handful of Republican support.

“[I]It is inconceivable that the entire House will adopt the product of an invalid body, ”Letter said.

At the root of the House’s argument is the long-held principle that the courts give overwhelming deference to Congress to create and interpret its own rules. Courts are reluctant to tell lawmakers how to control their own internal affairs until there are clear violations of the law or the constitution.

Like the Katrina select committee – and a GOP-led panel to investigate the deadly attack on a US consulate in Benghazi – the January 6 select committee only asked Pelosi to ” consult ”with McCarthy before making an appointment. And the procedures do not specify the scope of that consultation or whether Democrats should consider McCarthy’s contribution.

“Here there can be no serious assertion that [the resolution] has not been followed: the leader of the minority has been consulted, ”Letter wrote. “The minority leader made several suggestions to the president regarding members of minority parties to sit on the select committee, and the president even announced his intention to appoint three of the five minority party members recommended by the minority leader. That the President… made different choices for two of the members, and that the minority leader subsequently withdrew his recommendations, does not render the special committee ill-formed, nor invalidate any of its actions.

The House’s official argument came just hours after McCarthy rejected the committee’s request for his own testimony on his interactions with Trump from January 6. McCarthy made similar arguments on the committee’s validity in his own statement refusing to participate, calling it “illegitimate.”

The ruling in Budowich’s trial is set to be the first to address challenges to the authority of the Jan.6 committee and could have implications for similar lawsuits filed by Trump allies like the former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, attorney John Eastman, pro-Trump broadcaster Alex Jones and others resisting select committee subpoenas for their cases.

In his file, Letter notes that Budowich had already turned over parts of his financial records showing that he played a role in funding the January 6 rally that preceded the attack on the Capitol. The subpoena of his bank statements was the next logical step in the investigation, Letter said.

“The documents collected from JPMorgan Chase will also allow the select committee to verify the information already provided by Budowich and determine if further investigation is necessary,” he argues.

More fundamentally, Letter argues that prosecuting the committee to force it to return documents is prohibited by the Constitution, which the courts have said restricts the ability of the judiciary to force Congress to return documents in its possession.

Budowich also challenged the Jan.6 committee’s “legislative purpose”, saying his subpoena for his files exceeded the committee’s mandate to investigate the attack on the Capitol. But Letter noted that the committee had provided detailed explanations of its mission to develop policies to prevent a future threat to the transfer of power – and those goals were upheld last month by a federal appeals court in a separate lawsuit brought by Trump himself.

The letter also drew on the precedents of House Republicans in another way: the efforts of former House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) On Trump in 2016.

At the time, Fusion challenged Nunes’ efforts in court, saying forcing him to turn over the transaction records would violate his First Amendment rights. Budowich has made similar arguments to protect his company Conservative Strategies from being required to disclose client records.

But a federal judge rejected Fusion’s argument, saying business transactions do not enjoy the same First Amendment protections as political speech and associations.

Likewise, here, while the work of Budowich’s clients may include conduct protected by the First Amendment, “Letter said,” the disclosure that he and his company assisted these clients in this work is not. “


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