House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday warned tech companies that Republicans “will not forget” if they turn over phone and email records to the committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol building, The Hill reported.
A letter from McCarthy was in response to a request Monday from the committee sent to 35 telephone, email and social media companies to preserve records that it said could be relevant to its investigation.
McCarthy, a California Republican, said that if the companies comply with the request, it “would put every American with a phone or computer in the crosshairs of a surveillance state run by Democratic politicians.”
While the letters did not give names of those whose information is being sought, the committee does seek records of those involved in rallies to protest the certification of the 2020 presidential election results — a group that includes Republican lawmakers.
“If these companies comply with the Democrat order to turn over private information, they are in violation of federal law and subject to losing their ability to operate in the United States,” McCarthy wrote, though he did not specify what federal law would be violated.
“If companies still choose to violate federal law, a Republican majority will not forget and will stand with Americans to hold them fully accountable under the law,” he continued.
The requests sent by the committee are not formal subpoenas. They do ask the companies to keep the information confidential.
“If you are not able or willing to respond to this request without alerting the subscribers or the accounts, please contact the Select Committee prior to proceeding,” several of the letters from the committee said.
Telecommunications companies that received requests from the committee included AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Communications, as well as tech giants Apple and Microsoft Corp.
Messages also went out to social media companies that were the subject of requests last week, including Facebook, Reddit, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube.
In a statement revealing the data preservation requests, a spokesperson for the House of Representatives’ Jan. 6 investigation committee, led by Mississippi Democrat Bennie Thompson, said it had “sent letters to 35 private-sector entities, including telecommunications, email, and social media companies, instructing them to preserve records” that could be “relevant” to the committee’s inquiry.
“The Select Committee is at this point gathering facts, not alleging wrongdoing by any individual,” the statement added.
This marked the House committee’s latest round of requests after last week ordering federal agencies and social media companies to hand over records related to the violence and the events leading up to it.
A source on Monday confirmed the committee would request preservation of phone records of former President Donald Trump, his daughter Ivanka, and his sons Eric and Donald Jr.
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