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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is in line to become Speaker in January, has put the Jan. 6 Committee on notice. Earlier this week, the California Republican sent the committee a letter informing members to preserve documents and all work the panel has done during its investigation so the new GOP majority can examine it.
“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, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), on Wednesday. He also said the panel must be held to the strictest of scrutiny, considering the implications of any findings.
“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,” McCarthy added.
In reference to a federal law making it illegal to provide false statements to government officials, McCarthy noted further, “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.”
The prospective House Speaker said that the GOP majority would not be continuing the committee’s work but instead will shift to “why the Capitol complex was not secure on January 6, 2021.”
According to The Hill, Thompson said he’s already ensuring that the committee’s work is preserved. He also took a jab at McCarthy.
“The subpoena I signed for him to come and testify before the committee will be part of the record,” Thompson said, adding: “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 to the panel comes after reports claimed that some committee investigators have complained that vice chair Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican who is leaving in January after being defeated in her August primary, wanted too much of the focus to be on former President Donald Trump.
According to the Washington Post, at least 15 current and former staffers for the committee have said they believe the Wyoming Republican is working behind the scenes to ensure that the final report focuses primarily on former President Donald Trump at the expense of other important information.
However, the paper said that Cheney’s office has pushed back on the allegation, saying that the information that she is cutting out was replete with “liberal bias.”
The Post cited one former staffer for the committee who claimed that Cheney’s changes to the report were mostly done for political effect. Other staffers said that her overt focus on the former president, who recently declared that he is running again in 2024 for the GOP presidential nomination, comes at the cost of other vital committee research regarding militia organizations, financing, and law enforcement.
“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,” a former staffer told the outlet. “But when [the committee] became a Cheney 2024 campaign, many of us became discouraged.”
Jeremy Adler, a spokesman for Cheney, said the lawmaker, who was beaten in an August primary by now Rep.-elect Harriet Hageman, said his boss was merely attempting to protect the integrity of the panel’s work by eliminating “liberal bias” and narratives that otherwise tainted the investigative work done by the committee as well as a draft report.