Speed Reads

Nice telecom you got there....

House Republicans threaten to 'shut down' telecoms that comply with Jan. 6 subpoenas

The House Jan. 6 committee asked an array of telecommunication firms Monday to retain all records related to the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, a first step toward obtaining select records. Some House Republicans whose records might be subpoenaed, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), responded Tuesday, threatening to retaliate against any telecom that complies with the committee's requests. 

McCarthy issued a statement Tuesday evening saying "a Republican majority will not forget" any "private companies" that "comply with the Democrat order to turn over private information," claiming that's a "violation of federal law." Substantively, "congressional committees have routinely used subpoena power to obtain data from private companies, including phone records, emails, and other communications," Politico reports. Seeking those records from members of Congress "would be a departure from past practices."

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) issued a more direct threat on Tucker Carlson's Fox News show Tuesday night: "These telecommunication companies, if they go along with this, they will be shut down — and that's a promise."

You "might dismiss Greene as a harmless kook, but if she is getting airtime and a respectful hearing on the most highly rated political show on television, she is not harmless," Jonathan Chait writes at New York. "A Republican House acting alone can't shut down telecommunications firms, but it can harm their interests in all sorts of ways that could make them think twice about cooperating with an investigation."

"If Congress is making demands for documents illegally, or privacy rights are being violated, you can sue to stop it." attorney Ken "Popehat" White advised. "Saying 'do it and we'll retaliate with punitive legislation' is pure corrupt thuggery." Marcy Wheeler suggested McCarthy's statement opened him up to obstruction charges — "Not so bright, this one," she tweeted — and the Jan. 6 committee hit a similar note in its response to McCartney, saying its efforts "won't be deterred by those who want to whitewash or cover up the events of January 6th, or obstruct our investigation."

Committee member Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told MSNBC that McCarthy's threat is "premised on a falsehood," adding "he's scared" and former President Donald Trump is "scared," too.

"Kevin McCarthy lives to do whatever Trump wants," Schiff said. "But he is trying to threaten these companies, and it shows yet again why this man, Kevin McCarthy, can never be allowed to go anywhere near the speaker's office."