Seeking information about their alleged roles in events that led up to the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, the select committee probing the insurrection has now called on Republican Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Mo Brooks of Alabama, and Ronny Jackson of Texas, to cooperate.
The committee wants Biggs to face multiple questions, including those involving right-wing conspiracy theorist Ali Alexander and Alexander’s claim that Biggs was just one of a handful of sitting lawmakers whoactively worked to stop the peaceful transfer of power.
Rep. Mo Brooks, who took the stage before Trump incited the mob and called on people to “fight like hell,” is again under the microscope for his remarks. This time, it was a public admission he made while running for the Senate. Brooks declared in March that Trump demanded he overturn the 2020 election.
And in arguably the most troubling letter the committee issued Monday, in its request to Rep. Ronny Jackson, investigators asked the Texas Republican to pry back the curtain on his potential ties to the extremist Oath Keepers group and its members currently facing trial for seditious conspiracy.
The requests come as the committee verges on resuming its public hearings on June 9, but they are not formal subpoenas. Investigators have historically aired on the side of caution when it comes to forcing compliance with their congressional colleagues. They have cited concerns over lengthy legal battles they anticipate they would face as the clock on the probe runs down.
But they have not ruled this option out altogether. Before Monday, previous requests were sent to Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania. Both have refused to cooperate.
According to investigators, Biggs is taking front row and center now for several reasons, chief among them his alleged relationship with right-wing conspiracy theorist Ali Alexander.
Last December, over a series of live streams, Alexander boasted that the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement he founded was receiving help from Biggs, then the chair of the House Freedom Caucus.
Alexander also named Reps. Paul Gosar of Arizona and Mo Brooks of Alabama as instrumental facilitators.
“We’re the four guys who came up with a Jan. 6 event,” Alexander said in one since-deleted video.
In another video, as noted by The New York Times, Alexander said:
“We four schemed up putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting so that who we couldn’t lobby, we could change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body, hearing our loud roar from outside,” he said.
Biggs has denied ever meeting with Alexander or talking to him. Biggs did not immediately return a request for comment to Daily Kos on Monday.
Alexander, however, has cooperated with the Jan. 6 committee—along with more than 800 other people—and turned over several records.
In April, he agreed to appear before a federal grand jury after receiving a subpoena for testimony relevant to the Justice Department’s investigation of Jan. 6.
The right-wing bombast has been mum about details of his cooperation, and when talking to the press, his attorney has underlined Alexander’s disavowal of the violence that unfolded.
Investigators also want to question Biggs about his conduct on Dec. 21 at the White House where he and other House Freedom Caucus members attended an in-person and prominently advertised meeting with Trump.
Trump’s then-chief-of-staff Mark Meadows boosted the signal after the meeting, noting he and other attendees were “preparing to fight back against mounting evidence of voter fraud.”
That meeting, according to the testimony already obtained by the committee, centered on the role then-Vice President Mike Pence could play if he would abandon his constitutional role during certification.
“As you may be aware, a federal judge… recently concluded that President Trump’s effort to pressure the vice president to refuse to count electoral votes likely violated two provisions of federal criminal law,” the committee wrote Monday, referencing a ruling from a federal judge in California.
In that ruling, the committee successfully obtained access to emails from conservative attorney John Eastman, the author of the six-point memo strategizing how to stop the certification.
Biggs could also answer questions about his push to see “alternate electors” installed for the count. In a text message to Meadows on Nov. 6—just three days after the election and before results were finalized—the Arizona Republican was already pushing a proposal to get Trump’s electors set up in battleground states.
Biggs acknowledged the scheme was “highly controversial.”
“It can't be much more controversial than the lunacy that we’re sitting out there now. And It would be pretty difficult because he would take governors and legislators with collective will and backbone to do that. Is anybody on the team researching and considering lobbying for that?" Biggs wrote.
Meadows replied: “I love it.”
In the end, election fraud was not found in Arizona or elsewhere.
There’s also a push by the committee to learn more about a reported effort by House Republicans angling for presidential pardons after Jan. 6.
The committee disclosed Monday that White House personnel have already testified about the issue.
Just ahead of President Joe Biden’s inauguration, it was widely reported that Trump seriously entertained issuing pardons for those tied up in crimes related to Jan. 6. In February, Politico reported that two people familiar with the discussions, including an adviser to Trump, said Trump was worried about possible criminal charges.
“Is it everybody that had a Trump sign, or everybody who walked into the Capitol” who could be pardoned? Trump reportedly asked.
The 45th president believed if he pardoned people, they would “never have to testify or be deposed.”
Trump ended up abandoning the idea when he was informed it could cause him new legal headaches and fresh campaign finance scrutiny. His impeachment-worn attorney Pat Cipollone also allegedly threatened to resign if Trump went through with the plan.
Rep. Ronny Jackson on Monday slammed the request, dubbing the committee “illegitimate” and consumed by a “malicious and not substantive” agenda. He also described the investigation as a “ruthless crusade against President Trump and his allies.”
Jackson was particularly irked, he claimed, because the committee did not seek him out privately first, according to CBS.
A committee spokesperson did not immediately return a request to Daily Kos.
Jackson’s cooperation is being sought because of his potential relationship with Oath Keepers accused of orchestrating a complex, weaponized conspiracy to stop the nation’s peaceful transfer of power on Jan. 6.
Related: Oath Keepers text expose talk of security details for Trump world figures, more Proud Boys ties
Prosecutors revealed last month that in the trove of text messages seized off Oath Keeper devices, the extremist group members discussed providing a personal security detail to Jackson during the attack.
“Dr. Ronnie Jackson on the move,” one message from an unidentified person said. “Needs protection. If anyone inside cover him. He has critical data to protect.”
Other users in the chat worried about Jackson, once the White House physician to Trump.
“Hopefully they can help Dr. Jackson,” a text at 3:03 p.m. read.
Rhodes responded two minutes later.
“Help with what?” he wrote.
Within the same minute, Rhodes replied again.
“Give him my cell,” he said.
As for Mo Brooks, the Alabama Republican is being called up to discuss his comments in March when he appeared to lapse in total fealty to Trump.
Trump dropped his endorsement of Brooks’s senate run following weeks of lethargic polling.
The former president first backed Brooks a full year in advance of the primary. But in that time, Brooks—looking to shore up more moderate Republicans in a tough race—began to backpedal, much to Trump’s ire.
Brooks voted against certification on Jan. 6 and even campaigned with life-size Trump posters at his side, according to the Associated Press.
But during a pro-Trump rally in Alabama in August 2021, Brooks urged the crowd to forget about the failures of the previous year’s election.
“There are some people who are despondent about the voter fraud and election theft in 2020. Folks, put that behind you, put that behind you,” Brooks said.
He was booed and as noted by reporters on-site, he “nearly lost the crowd” before waffling again.
”All right, well, look back at it, but go forward and take advantage of it. We have got to win in 2022. We’ve got to win in 2024,” Brooks said.
All lawmakers have been asked to set up a time to meet with investigators beginning next week.
Though it was nearly a foregone conclusion that Reps. Jackson, Brooks, and Biggs would not comply, ultimately, the panel has made clear that forcing testimony from some individuals would not make or break the entire probe given the voluminous evidence already collected.