House GOP Leader McCarthy threatens companies that cooperate with Jan. 6 probe

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House GOP Leader McCarthy threatens companies that cooperate with Jan. 6 probe
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House GOP Leader McCarthy threatens companies that cooperate with Jan. 6 probe
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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday warned dozens of communications companies against cooperating with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, saying that Republicans “will not forget” it if they retake the House.

His broadside was immediately criticized by Democrats and ethics experts, who accused him of violating House ethics rules and likened the statement to tampering with the congressional investigation.

Democrats’ “attempts to strong-arm private companies to turn over individuals’ private data would put every American with a phone or computer in the crosshairs of a surveillance state run by Democrat politicians,” McCarthy said in a statement posted to Twitter.

The select committee asked 35 companies on Monday to preserve records that could be relevant to its investigation into the Capitol attack and “efforts to delay or interfere” with the transfer of power after the 2020 election, which could be a precursor to more targeted subpoenas compelling the production of records.

While the requests didn’t mention any individuals by name, the select committee is expected to focus its inquiry on GOP lawmakers who communicated with former President Donald Trump on and around Jan. 6 regarding the election, along with the president’s close aides and family members.

McCarthy, whose own conversations with Trump were highlighted during the second impeachment trial, could be of interest to the panel’s investigation.

“This is very unusual for a member of Congress, especially someone in a leadership role in the House, to try to intervene and prevent a congressional committee from trying to do its job,” Craig Holman, a lobbyist for the nonpartisan watchdog group Public Citizen, told ABC News.

“By demanding that no one participate with the select committee, he is undermining the credibility of Congress itself,” he said, suggesting that McCarthy’s comments were in violation of House Rule 23, which requires members to “behave at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House.”

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