The select panel investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection has asked for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s phone records to be preserved as it expands its inquiry, a committee source confirmed Thursday.
McCarthy’s name was included in a broad request the select panel sent Monday to social media platforms and telecommunications companies, asking them to preserve records that could be relevant to the probe of the attack. Although the request does not mean the committee will necessarily take the subsequent step of seeking McCarthy’s records, the panel’s move means the minority leader now faces a threat of having his personal data subpoenaed.
The panel’s chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), had hinted in advance of Monday's request that fellow lawmakers could see their communications records sought as part of the investigation. The potential request of their phone records outraged Republicans — McCarthy, in a Tuesday statement, had threatened retribution against companies that complied with the panel’s request and said that compliance would break the law, though he did not cite a specific statute.
"It is unfortunate how unserious and political Bennie Thompson has made this inquiry,” McCarthy spokesman Mark Bednar said in a statement Thursday. “A serious inquiry that was not politically motivated would be looking at why the Capitol was left so unprepared and how to prevent this from happening in the future – and an authoritarian unconstitutional attempt to rifle through individuals’ call logs will not help answer that question."
A Jan. 6 select panel aide declined to comment on the inclusion of McCarthy’s name on the records preservation request, which was first reported by CNN. The aide said the list of individuals whose records the panel sought had not changed since it was sent on Monday to nearly three dozen companies, ranging from Apple to Verizon.
The panel is continuing to escalate its investigation even as the House takes its summer recess. Thompson announced Thursday morning he had appointed Rep. Liz Cheney, one of only two Republicans on the panel, as its vice chair, a further elevation of the Wyoming conservative by Democrats that comes as she remains on the outs with many House GOP colleagues.
Olivia Beavers contributed to this report.
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