By MADDISON BOOTH and TODD STACY, Alabama Daily News
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Upon hearing the news that he had been subpoenaed to testify by a special congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot, Congressman Mo Brooks told Alabama Daily News that he wanted to first look at the contents of the subpoena before agreeing to comply with it.
Brooks was one of five Republicans subpoenaed Thursday by the select committee. The Huntsville congressman had previously been requested to come with committee members, to which he responded, “if they want to talk to me, they can send me a subpoena.”
But in an interview with Alabama Daily News Thursday, Brooks listed several conditions the subpoena must meet before he’ll agree to testify.
“It depends on the process and the rules for that testimony, coupled with what my fellow Republican congressmen…have to say,” Brooks said.
He believes the committee is politically motivated to damage his campaign for the U.S. Senate with the primary election just 12 days away.
“If the ‘witch hunt committee’ was serious about questioning me, they had 16 months in which to do it,” Brooks said. “And now they have waited until they could have maximum interference with the election of a conservative Republican to the United States Senate.”
Brooks said he wants his testimony to be heard in a public setting where Americans can hear him speak firsthand and not rely on leaked information from committee members or staff. He said that so far the committee “has not shown any willingness to do the public’s business in public.”
He wants the questioning to be done by his fellow congressmen themselves, rather than staff or counsel. Brooks also insists that the questions be solely focused on the events surrounding the attack on the Capitol rather than tangential events or information.
Finally, Brooks demanded the deposition date be changed so that it does not interfere with the U.S. Senate election.
Brooks said his decision to testify will also depend on whether or not the other Republicans who were subpoenaed choose to testify. That list includes Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, and Andy Biggs of Arizona.
Congressional subpoenas for sitting members of Congress, especially for a party leader, have little precedent in recent decades, and it is unclear what the consequences would be if any or all of the five men decline to comply. The House has voted to hold two other noncompliant witnesses, former Trump aides Steve Bannon and Mark Meadows, in contempt, referring their cases to the Justice Department.
In announcing the subpoenas, the Jan. 6 panel said there is historical precedent for the move and noted that the House Ethics Committee has “issued a number of subpoenas to Members of Congress for testimony or documents,” though such actions are generally done secretly.
Brooks, who is a lawyer, said the law requires subpoenas to be given “under reasonable terms and conditions” and he believes his conditions for appearing fit in that category.
Brooks was among the first to advocate for blocking Congress from certifying the 2020 presidential election on the debunked claim that mass election fraud tilted the election toward Joe Biden and away from Donald Trump. He also spoke at the Jan. 6 rally that preceded the riot, telling the crowd “Today is the day that American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass.”
Brooks lost the endorsement of Trump for his Senate bid in March amid slipping poll numbers. Afterward, he told reporters Trump “wanted the election rescinded and a do-over… But there’s no legal way to do it.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.