Thursday, May 19, 2022

Top House Republican subpoenaed in US Capitol riot probe

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WASHINGTON: The leading US House Republican, Kevin McCarthy, was subpoenaed Thursday to testify in the congressional probe of last year’s assault on the Capitol by Donald Trump supporters.

The subpoenas were issued to McCarthy and four other Republicans in the House of Representatives — Scott Perry, Jim Jordan, Andy Biggs, and Mo Brooks — after they declined to voluntarily appear before the special committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack.

“The Select Committee has learned that several of our colleagues have information relevant to our investigation into the attack on January 6th and the events leading up to it,” said committee chairman Bennie Thompson.

The panel is probing whether Trump, his staff and advisors knowingly encouraged or helped organize the uprising at the seat of Congress by hundreds of the former president’s supporters seeking to stop lawmakers from certifying Joe Biden as winner of the November 2020 election.

Claiming without evidence that Biden won through massive fraud, Trump had urged his supporters to block the certification on January 6, a formal process that was being led by then-vice president Mike Pence.

Five deaths were linked with the violence and scores of police were injured. The mayhem sent Pence into hiding and succeeded in halting the joint session of Congress and delaying certification for several hours until peace was restored.

The committee, which is controlled by Democrats, said McCarthy was in contact with Trump before, during and after the attack, which has been branded an insurrection and an “attempted coup.”

The other four also allegedly had involvement with Trump and the events running up to January 6 and the false claims that Trump won the election, according to the committee.

The panel plans to hold public hearings on its findings beginning next month.

“We urge our colleagues to comply with the law, do their patriotic duty, and cooperate with our investigation as hundreds of other witnesses have done,” Thompson said.

800 arrested

Meanwhile the Justice Department announced it has arrested and charged some 810 people over their participation in the assault.

Most have been charged with minor crimes like illegally entering a federal building, but 255 faced heavier charges of assaulting, resisting or impeding officers.

Around 50 were hit with conspiracy and sedition charges that can bring up to 20 years in prison, according to the office of the federal prosecutor in Washington.

So far 280 people have pleaded guilty, including 48 for felony charges, the prosecutor’s office said.

Seven of 15 people who pleaded guilty to assaulting officers have been sentenced to up to 63 months in prison.

In addition, three people have pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy charges in apparent plea deals in which they are expected to assist investigators in other cases.

Separately The New York Times reported Thursday that federal prosecutors are conducting a grand jury investigation into whether Trump and his aides improperly removed highly classified documents — some of which related to January 6 — from the White House to his Florida residence after he left the White House.

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