Rep. Andy Biggs is the latest GOP lawmaker to signal he won’t cooperate with the Jan. 6 committee’s subpoena request, unless the panel justifies its reasoning behind the move.
Mr. Biggs’ legal team raised concerns about the lack of information provided in the subpoena request, as well as the constitutional basis for issuing it to the Arizona Republican.
“We write to lodge objections to what we believe are certain facial and substantive deficiencies afflicting the subpoena, as well as to seek additional information concerning the rationale for the subpoena and the scope of the committee’s proposed deposition of Congressman Biggs,” Mr. Biggs’ lawyers wrote to Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the Democratic-led committee.
The attorneys also stress in a letter to Rep. Bennie Thompson, the panel’s chairman, that the committee is entering uncharted territory in their efforts to subpoena sitting members of Congress.
Mr. Biggs’ team argues that the congressman’s activities and speech related to his objections to the 2020 presidential election on Jan. 6, 2021 are protected by constitutional immunity since he was engaging in a legislative action.
“The subpoena issued to Congressman Biggs appears to be predicated entirely on his status and functions as a sitting Member of Congress,” the attorneys write.
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Historically, it’s been rare for a congressional investigative body to subpoena sitting lawmakers, except in narrow cases related to ethics investigations.
Among his complaints, Mr. Biggs claims he nor his attorneys have been personally served a subpoena from the committee, instead being issued one by email addressed “to the undersigned.”
The lawmaker also argues the subpoena does not specify the exact location of where the deposition would take place, and omits the scope of what the committee is inquiring of Mr. Biggs.
Mr. Biggs is one of five House Republicans, including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who were issued subpoenas by the Jan. 6 committee this month, following the members’ unwillingness to voluntarily cooperate with the panel’s investigation into the U.S. Capitol riot.
Reps. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Jim Jordan of Ohio, and Mo Brooks of Alabama were also targeted by Mr. Thompson.
Mr. McCarthy and Mr. Jordan have signaled similar measures to Mr. Biggs, requesting the committee for its “constitutional” basis for issuing the subpoenas, as well as heightened transparency in the materials they’ll rely on in questioning.
The Jan. 6 committee said in a statement on Friday that Mr. Thompson was prepared to respond to the lawmakers’ concerns in the coming days.
“Leader McCarthy and other Members who have been served subpoenas are hiding behind debunked arguments and baseless requests for special treatment,” the committee said in its statement, adding that their refusal to cooperate is a “continued assault on the rule of law.”
The committee requested information from Mr. Biggs related to his relationship and knowledge of the “Stop the Steal” effort organized by Ali Alexander to overturn the 2020 election in favor of former President Donald Trump.
Members also sought to question Mr. Biggs on trying to persuade state lawmakers to prevent President Biden’s victory in the election, and his efforts to seek a presidential pardon from Mr. Trump after the riot.
Republicans have dubbed the committee as being politically motivated and overstepping their authority, while denying they have information that could benefit them in their probe of the riot.
In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal this week, Mr. McCarthy and Mr. Jordan doubled down on painting the committee as a partisan tool to go after Republicans.
“By subpoenaing us and three other Republican members, the Select Committee is escalating its abusive tactics. This attempt to coerce information from members of Congress about their official duties is a dangerous abuse of power, serves no legitimate legislative purpose, and eviscerates constitutional norms,” the Republican legislators wrote.
The committee is made up of seven Democrats and two Republicans, including Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois — two vocal critics of Mr. Trump.
Hearings are expected to begin in June.