WASHINGTON (AP) — Three other House Republicans received requests on Monday to voluntarily appear before the congressional committee investigating the U.S. Capitol insurrection and answer questions about their involvement in efforts to reverse Donald Trump’s election defeat. Trump in 2020.
The committee sent letters to GOP Reps. Mo Brooks of Alabama, Andy Biggs of Arizona and Ronny Jackson of Texas — three members of the ultra-right House Freedom Caucus who have aligned themselves with Trump in recent years. Jackson quickly ruled out cooperating.
The nine-member panel is asking members of Congress to testify about their involvement in meetings at the White House, direct conversations with President Trump as he sought to contest his loss in the 2020 presidential election, and the planning and coordinating gatherings no later than January 6, 2021.
“The select committee has learned that several of our colleagues have information relevant to our investigation into the facts, circumstances and causes of January 6,” said committee chair Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and vice- President Liz Cheney, R-Wyo. ., said in a statement. “We urge our colleagues to join the hundreds of people who have shared information with the select committee to shed light on what happened on January 6.”
Since launching its investigation last summer, the Jan. 6 panel has slowly obtained new details about what lawmakers said and did in the weeks leading up to the uprising. Members have already asked three GOP lawmakers — Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California — to testify voluntarily. All refused.
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So far, the January 6 committee has refrained from issuing subpoenas to lawmakers, fearing the repercussions of such an extraordinary step. But in recent days, Thompson and other committee members have hinted that subpoenaing their colleagues may not be entirely off the mark.
The decision to seek Brooks’ cooperation comes weeks after the Alabama Republican accused Trump of withdrawing his endorsement for a Senate seat after he pushed back on the former president’s pleas to help nullify the election of 2020.
Trump “wanted the election canceled and redone,” Brooks told reporters in March. “But there’s no legal way to do it.”
Brooks spoke at the rally that day before Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, telling them, “Today is the day that patriotic Americans start taking names and kicking ass. .” He has since become more critical of the former president, and the committee believes his insight into Trump’s efforts to implicate members of Congress will be helpful to their investigation.
The committee’s interest in Biggs follows an April 22 court filing in which lawmakers accused him of being an active participant in White House meetings after the 2020 election, where he and other Republicans have pondered ways to keep Trump in power. Biggs is also accused of encouraging protesters to come to Washington on Jan. 6 and persuading lawmakers and state officials that the election was stolen.
The panel also said it had “recent information from former White House staffers” that identified an effort by some House GOP lawmakers to seek a presidential pardon for activities related to efforts to Trump to cancel the election. “Your name has been identified as a potential participant in this effort,” the committee wrote to Biggs.
In an interview last week, Biggs did not deny his public efforts to challenge the election results, but called recent reports of his deep involvement false. “I saw my name. There were three articles today, and they were filled with untruths,” he told The Associated Press.
The panel also wants to ask Jackson about his efforts, along with other GOP lawmakers, to barricade the doors of the House as rioters tried to break through.
“The Committee has video evidence of the rioters’ proximity to breaching the chamber of the House at this time,” Thompson and Cheney wrote. “We want to record your first-hand observations of this period, including the reactions and statements of other members of Congress to the violence at this time.”
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Additionally, Jackson, a former White House physician to two presidents, was mentioned in texts, recovered by the committee, between members of the Oath Keepers as they and the rest of the violent mob descended on the building of the Capitol.
In one text, a member of the far-right militia texted its leader, Stewart Rhodes, saying that Jackson needed their protection because “he has critical data to protect.”
“The above exchanges raise several specific questions for you,” the committee wrote to Jackson. “Why would these people have an interest in your specific location? Why would they think you “have critical data to protect?” Why would they ask their members to protect your personal safety? »
In a statement on Monday, Jackson said: “I do not know, and have not had contact with, those who texted about me on January 6. In fact, I was proud to help defend the House Floor from those who posed a threat to my colleagues.
He added that he would not cooperate with what he called the committee’s “ruthless crusade against President Trump and his allies.”
Rhodes and 10 other members or associates linked to the group have since been charged with seditious conspiracy as part of the Justice Department’s investigation into the attack.
During the Trump administration, Jackson had become a vocal ally, but his appointment as Secretary of Veterans Affairs was withdrawn amid allegations that he created a hostile work environment and improperly dispensed prescription drugs. . Jackson strenuously denied these claims and ran for Congress from Texas.
Requests for comment Monday from Biggs and Brooks were not immediately returned.
Associated Press writer Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report.