Behind the Jan. 6 committee's subpoena of Kevin McCarthy

The decision came after months of internal debate on the committee about the wisdom of such an unprecedented step, with even Chairman BENNIE THOMPSON (D-Miss.) expressing skepticism about trying to force fellow lawmakers to testify. Other Democrats on the panel were concerned that the summons could set a bad precedent: With Republicans primed to flip the House in a matter of months, there is almost no question that the GOP will retaliate by subpoenaing top Democrats — like Pelosi and ADAM SCHIFF (D-Calif.) — in their own investigations.

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Sources tell us Cheney and fellow panel member JAMIE RASKIN (D-Md.) privately countered that the GOP will subpoena Democrats anyway — and that the panel might as well try to get the facts while they can…

The 1/6 panel has a serious enforcement issue here. Republicans are expected to ignore these summons. And when they do, the Jan. 6 committee doesn’t have a lot of obvious options for how to respond.

We’re told they’ve already privately discussed a few options, including (1) taking the matter to court, (2) holding lawmakers in contempt and (3) trying to get the Justice Department to enforce summons. Here, too, there’s a risk of opening Democrats up to reprisals from a GOP-controlled House. Further, a judge could rule that the lawmakers cannot be forced to testify due to the Constitution’s “Speech and Debate” clause, which protects members of Congress from legal repercussions for official actions.

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