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Politics: Jan. 6 committee rebuts challenges to its legitimacy, citing Katrina and Benghazi probes

The 'hero' of Jan. 6 should embrace the truth

  The 'hero' of Jan. 6 should embrace the truth It appears as if Pence is trying to have it both ways. He wants to regain his moral, political leader status and attend conservative GOP and Christian events without being booed. Thus, he sends emails about values and "Defending the Faith" - perhaps hoping to run for president in 2024. Yet, disgracefully, Jan. 6 is not mentioned on the website for his PAC, Advancing American Freedom. What does he fear?Along with Trump, Pence knows the entire truth about the events leading up to Jan. 6., but Pence's desire to regain power appears to supplant his yearning to speak the truth.

A 2005 select committee that Speaker Nancy Pelosi once derided as a partisan “sham” is now the House’s chief defense against claims that its own Democratic-controlled select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol is valid even though Republican leaders haven’t appointed any members.

At the heart of the complaints by Trump allies is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to reject two of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s five appointees to the Jan. 6 panel. © Al Drago-Pool/Getty Images At the heart of the complaints by Trump allies is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to reject two of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s five appointees to the Jan. 6 panel.

In a late-night court filing defending the Jan. 6 panel’s structure, House Counsel Douglas Letter noted that the 2005 committee — which consisted entirely of 11 Republicans appointed by then-Speaker Dennis Hastert — proved that there is precedent for a select committee operating without a contingent of members appointed by the minority party. That panel, appointed over Pelosi’s objection to investigate the failures of the government response to Hurricane Katrina, was nevertheless a valid exercise of the House’s power, Letter noted. Claims that the Jan. 6 committee are invalid because it lacks GOP-appointed members fail to reckon with this precedent, he said.

Jan. 6 committee indicates it will ask Pence to appear this month

  Jan. 6 committee indicates it will ask Pence to appear this month Some of Pence's former aides have been cooperating with the committee."I think you could expect that before the month's out," Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., told NPR in an interview. "Our committee really needs to hear what are his opinions about what happened on Jan. 6.

It’s the House’s first attempt to fend off a crush of lawsuits challenging the select committee’s authority to subpoena phone and banking records from a slew of close allies and associates of former President Donald Trump. Letter’s filing came in the case of Taylor Budowich, a Trump spokesman who is seeking to force the committee to return his bank records — which the panel already obtained from JP Morgan last month — by contending that the panel is structurally flawed.

At the heart of the complaints by Trump’s allies is Pelosi’s decision to reject two of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s five appointees to the panel — Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Jim Banks (R-Ind.) — who Pelosi contended were too intertwined with Trump to be credible investigators. McCarthy then withdrew his other three appointees in protest and has boycotted the panel since.

January 6 committee weighs options to get members of Congress to comply with their investigation

  January 6 committee weighs options to get members of Congress to comply with their investigation Members of the House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol Hill insurrection are weighing what options they have to compel their fellow members of Congress to cooperate with their probe. © Getty Images At issue is determining a path that would that would give them the best opportunity to obtain the information and interviews they are looking for by using the powers of the committee at their disposal.

Trump allies facing subpoenas from the committee have pointed to the absence of GOP-appointed members as evidence the committee is operating improperly and have repeatedly highlighted this in court filings. They say the House’s rules for subpoenas and depositions require consultation between majority and minority members, which is impossible for a panel that has no formal GOP-appointed members – the committee’s two Republicans, Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) were installed by Pelosi.

But Letter noted that the resolution creating the Jan. 6 committee explicitly gave Pelosi power to appoint all of its members. Those same rules contemplate the possibility of vacancies and do not require the panel to shut down simply because it doesn’t have a full slate of members.

Perhaps more significantly, Letter argues, Republicans lodged no formal objections when the House debated and voted on two key actions by the Jan. 6 select committee: resolutions holding Trump advisers Mark Meadows and Steve Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress. Republicans could have raised formal “points of order” challenging the select committee’s validity at the time, Letter noted, but they did not and both resolutions passed — with a smattering of Republican support.

Jan. 6 committee asks GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy to cooperate with probe

  Jan. 6 committee asks GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy to cooperate with probe In a major development, the House Jan. 6 select committee on Wednesday asked GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy to voluntarily cooperate with its probe. Your browser does not support this video In a letter, the committee asked him to voluntarily provide information. It is not compelling him to provide information or sit before the committee at this time. Chairman Bennie Thompson said in the letter that he believes McCarthy has relevant information that could speak into the facts, circumstances, and causes leading to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack.

“[I]t is inconceivable that the full House would adopt the product of a body that was invalid,” Letter said.

At the root of the House’s argument is the long-held principle courts give overwhelming deference to Congress to create and interpret its own rules. Courts are reluctant to tell lawmakers how to police their own internal matters so long as there are no clear violations of law or the constitution.

Like the Katrina select committee — and a subsequent GOP-led panel to investigate the deadly attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi — the Jan. 6 select committee only required Pelosi to “consult” with McCarthy before making appointments. And the procedures don’t specify how extensive that consultation must be or whether Democrats must heed McCarthy’s input.

“Here, there can be no serious contention that [the resolution] was not followed: the Minority Leader was consulted,” Letter wrote. “The Minority Leader made several suggestions to the Speaker regarding minority party Members to serve on the Select Committee, and the Speaker even announced her intention to appoint three of the five minority party Members that the Minority Leader recommended. That the Speaker … made different selections as to two of the Members, and that the Minority Leader subsequently withdrew his recommendations, does not make the Select Committee improperly constituted, nor does it invalidate any of its actions.”

Former acting Defense secretary meets with Jan. 6 committee

  Former acting Defense secretary meets with Jan. 6 committee Christopher Miller, who was acting secretary of defense during the Jan. 6 riot, met Friday with members of the House committee investigating the origins of the attack on the Capitol, a source familiar with the panel's activities told NBC News. © Provided by NBC News The meeting came as the committee ramps up its probe, issuing more subpoenas and requesting several GOP lawmakers voluntarily testify. It was not immediately clear what Miller discussed with the panel.

The House’s formal argument came just hours after McCarthy spurned the committee’s request for his own testimony about his interactions with Trump on and after Jan. 6. McCarthy lodged similar arguments about the validity of the committee in his own statement refusing to participate, calling it “illegitimate.”

The ruling in Budowich’s suit is poised to be the first to reckon with challenges to the Jan. 6 committee’s authority and could have implications for similar suits filed by Trump allies like former national security adviser Michael Flynn, attorney John Eastman, pro-Trump broadcaster Alex Jones and others resisting the select committee’s subpoenas for their records.

In his filing, Letter notes that Budowich had already turned over portions of his financial records showing he played a role in financing the Jan. 6 rally that preceded the attack on the Capitol. Subpoenaing his bank records was a logical next step in the investigation, Letter said.

“The documents gathered from JPMorgan Chase will also allow the Select Committee to verify the information already provided to it by Budowich and determine whether further inquiry is necessary,” he argues.

More fundamentally, Letter argues that suing the committee to force it to return documents is prohibited by the Constitution, which courts have said restricts the ability of the judiciary to force Congress to return materials in its possession.

Exclusive: Eric Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle's phone records subpoenaed by January 6 committee

  Exclusive: Eric Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle's phone records subpoenaed by January 6 committee The House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol has subpoenaed and obtained records of phone numbers associated with one of former President Donald Trump's children, Eric Trump, as well as Kimberly Guilfoyle, who is engaged to Donald Trump Jr., sources tell CNN. © Provided by CNN It appears to be the first time the select committee has issued a subpoena that targeted a member of the Trump family, in what marks a significant escalation of the investigation into Trump's role in the January 6 insurrection.

Budowich also challenged the Jan. 6 committee’s “legislative purpose,” contending that its subpoena for his records exceeded the panel’s mandate to investigate the attack on the Capitol. But Letter noted the committee has offered detailed explanations of its mission to craft policies aimed at preventing a future threat to the transfer of power — and those goals were affirmed last month by a federal appeals court in a separate lawsuit brought by Trump himself.

Letter drew inspiration from House Republicans’ prior precedents in another way too: the efforts by former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) to obtain the financial records of Fusion GPS, the firm hired by the Clinton campaign to produce opposition research on Trump in 2016.

At the time, Fusion challenged Nunes’ efforts in court, contending that forcing it to turn over records of transactions with would violate its First Amendment rights. Budowich made similar arguments to protect his firm Conservative Strategies from being forced to disclose client records.

But a federal judge rejected Fusion’s argument, contending that commercial transactions do not enjoy the same First Amendment protections that political speech and associations do.

“Likewise, here, though the work of Budowich’s clients may include conduct protected by the First Amendment,” Letter said, “the disclosure that he and his company assisted those clients in that work is not.”

Judge rejects Trump spokesman's effort to retrieve hundreds of financial documents back from Jan. 6 committee .
Budowich said that that he provided the Jan 6. Committee, with at least 1,700 pages of documents and sat for "roughly four hours of sworn testimony."Budowich and Conservative Strategies, Inc. sued the Jan. 6 committee, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, JP Morgan, and other individual members of the committee over a subpoena for his financial records from JP Morgan. The suit was filed on December 24 in the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

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