House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California has sent a letter warning the committee investigating the Capitol incursion that all of its work must be preserved so that the incoming Republican majority can review what has taken place.
“I remind you and your staff on the Committee to preserve all records collected and transcripts of testimony taken during your investigation,” McCarthy wrote to the committee’s chairman, Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, on Wednesday.
McCarthy said the panel needs to be held to the fullest possible scrutiny.
“You have spent a year and a half and millions of taxpayers’ dollars conducting this investigation. It is imperative that all information collected be preserved not just for institutional prerogatives but for transparency to the American people,” he wrote.
“The official Congressional Records do not belong to you or any member, but to the American people, and they are owed all the information you gathered — not merely the information that comports with your political agenda.”
Referring to a federal law that makes giving false statements to the government a crime, McCarthy added, “The American people have a right to know that the allegations you have made are supported by the facts and to be able to view the transcripts with an eye toward encouraged enforcement of 18 USC 1001.”
McCarthy, who is seeking to become speaker once the new Congress convenes with a GOP majority, said the incoming House will not continue the panel’s work but will investigate “why the Capitol complex was not secure on January 6, 2021.”
Thompson said he was already ensuring that all of the panel’s records would be easily available, according to The Hill.
The Democrat noted that McCarthy was among those who refused to testify. “The subpoena I signed for him to come and testify before the committee will be part of the record,” Thompson said.
“He had a chance to come and testify before the committee. So I think the horse has left the barn. And we will do our work. We will end Dec. 31. If he wants to conduct whatever he wants as speaker, it’s his choice. But we sunset Dec. 31. He can read the report. We won’t have anything in our possession after Dec. 31.”
McCarthy’s letter cites a report in The Washington Post indicating that Vice Chair Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming wants the committee’s report to focus heavily on former President Donald Trump, which has irked others.
The report said 15 current and former staffers of the panel are “angered and disillusioned by Cheney’s push to focus the report primarily on former president Donald Trump, and have bristled at the committee morphing into what they have come to view as the vehicle for the outgoing Wyoming lawmaker’s political future.”
The Post also reported that the final report on Jan. 6 would limit references to the shortcomings of law enforcement and the intelligence community that contributed to the chaotic events of that day.
“We all came from prestigious jobs, dropping what we were doing because we were told this would be an important fact-finding investigation that would inform the public,” one former committee staffer said. “But when [the committee] became a Cheney 2024 campaign, many of us became discouraged.”
Cheney spokesman Jeremy Adler made no apologies for Cheney’s focus on Trump.
“Donald Trump is the first president in American history to attempt to overturn an election and prevent the peaceful transfer of power,” Adler said. “So, damn right Liz is ‘prioritizing’ understanding what he did and how he did it and ensuring it never happens again.”
Trump issued a fiery response to the report on his Truth Social platform.
“[Cheney] is a complete PSYCHO, has no regard for the truth as to what really happened, and is angry that the people of the Great State of Wyoming put her out to pasture in a record setting defeat. She blames me for this, but she only has herself to blame,” Trump wrote.
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