GOP eyes Pelosi as party weighs payback for January 6 subpoenas

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Several grassroots Republicans, likely committee chairs and members of the party leadership, told CNN on Friday that the January 6 panel subpoenas to House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy and four other Republicans are creating a new normal that they may ultimately choose to replicate in a potential GOP majority in the next Congress.

Top of the list: Pelosi, whom Republicans say they intend to target for his communications regarding security issues in the run-up to Jan. 6 and as the riot unfolded on Capitol Hill.

“I’ll tell you the truth: Yes, I do,” said Rep. Buddy Carter, a Republican from Georgia, when asked if he thought Republicans should issue a subpoena to Pelosi. “It sets a precedent, and we’re just not going to lie down and let that happen. There are serious questions about her role on January 6 and exactly what she did and didn’t. not done. And we have to get to the bottom of that.”

Several other Republicans said Friday there was broad support within the conference to prosecute Pelosi.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a subpoena,” said Rep. Brian Mast, a Republican from Florida.

Pelosi fired back.

“I’m never afraid of precedents,” the speaker told CNN on Friday. “We seek the truth, and we’re not going to be cowardly about it.”

The back-and-forth is the latest indication of the poisonous relationship that has plagued the chamber since the Capitol uprising, with Democrats saying their investigation focuses on the roots of an attack on US democracy and Republicans keen to dismiss the blame. of former President Donald Trump and his supporters.

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Since the attack, grassroots Democrats have refused to work with Republicans who voted to overturn the election results. The disdain between Pelosi and McCarthy is palpable. Tensions boiled over on the floor, including on Thursday when McCarthy and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer — two men who usually enjoy cordial relations — engaged in a tense interaction.

“I was talking to him to see if we could work this out,” Hoyer said, referring to a problem they encountered on the floor. “And his comment was that he had no intention of fixing the issues.”

What’s more, Pelosi’s hardline majority tactics — such as taking the unprecedented step to expel two controversial Republicans from their committee assignments — are sure to be replicated under a Chairman McCarthy, who has already vowed to remove committee assignments from several leading Democrats. year.

And now, with the committee seeking information from five Republicans – McCarthy, Representatives Jim Jordan of Ohio, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Mo Brooks of Alabama and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania – about their conversations with Trump At the time of the Capitol attack, GOP lawmakers are indicating they will not hesitate to respond in kind.

Pelosi does not oversee the day-to-day operations of Capitol police, but Republicans have focused on his role that day as they seek to build a counter-narrative to the deadly attack on the Capitol caused by supporters of Trump and the role that Trump also played.

“Numerous independent fact-checkers have confirmed that President Pelosi did not plan her own assassination,” Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said Friday. “Aside from the former president’s desperate lies, the speaker was no more in charge of the security of the US Capitol that day than Mitch McConnell.

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Still, Republicans say Pelosi should be front and center going forward.

Republican Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana, whom Pelosi rejected as one of McCarthy’s picks for the panel, said the select committee should subpoena the speaker for her testimony about security preparations and failures on January 6. .

“President Nancy Pelosi is the only person in the United States who has covered anything regarding Jan. 6. So that’s who they should subpoena,” Banks told reporters. “She should be at the top of the list.”

Banks, who chairs the conservative Republican review committee, declined to say whether Republicans should take that step if they are in power. “I defer to our boss on that,” Banks said.

McCarthy declined to comment when repeatedly asked about the issue on Friday.

Banks and Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois, the top Republican on the House Administration Committee, have been working behind the scenes on their own investigation focused on the Jan. 6 security breaches. They tried to get their hands on emails from House’s Sergeant-at-Arms about the decision-making process leading up to this day, among other things.

Davis previously told CNN that if he becomes president, he would have no problem issuing subpoenas to obtain information for their investigation, whether for documents or testimony. On Friday, Davis reiterated that the investigation would be his “majority focus,” but dodged questions about whether he would use his subpoena power to target Pelosi.

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“I would love to sit down and talk, but obviously President Pelosi and President (Zoe) Lofgren have determined that they really don’t value my opinion,” Davis said. “Otherwise, this circus of a select committee would be very different.”

A number of Democrats said Friday they don’t fear Republicans will adopt a similar tactic if they return to power.

“They’re going to act irresponsibly no matter what,” said California Rep. Adam Schiff, a Jan. 6 committee member and one of McCarthy’s top targets.

Schiff added: “If the Republicans win a majority, I fear more that they will succeed where they have failed before and will nullify the election. They have shown no ability to govern responsibly. So , subpoenas will be the least of anyone’s concerns if Trump’s party takes over.”

And some Democrats have said that if Republicans choose to ignore the Jan. 6 panel subpoenas, they will be setting their own precedent that Democrats may choose to follow.

“The question is what precedent will they set by responding to these subpoenas? asked Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Democrat from Maryland who sits on the panel.

Raskin added, “So people have been asking, ‘Does this set a precedent for issuing subpoenas for members of Congress in the future? If there are coups and insurgencies, I guess there is.”

CNN’s Morgan Rimmer, Ryan Nobles and Annie Grayer contributed to this report.

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