Republicans Accidentally Send Letter To Wrong CEO In Attempt To Thwart Jan. 6 Probe
A group of 11 right-wing Republican lawmakers mistakenly sent a letter addressed to the former CEO of Yahoo in an effort to pressure the company not to comply with a records request from the House select committee investigating the Capitol riot.
The letter, first reported by Forbes, was sent to Marissa Mayer, who resigned as CEO of the web services and email company more than four years ago, rather than current CEO Guru Gowrappan.
The letter was one of more than a dozen, sent to companies including AT&T, Apple and Verizon, which owns Yahoo, by 11 right-wing Republicans including Reps. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Jim Banks (R-Ind.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.).
The letters urge the companies to decline a request from the January 6 panel to preserve the phone records and data of Capitol riot defendants and others who sought to overturn the election, vowing to “pursue all legal remedies” if they don’t.
Many of the letter’s signatories, such as Reps. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) and Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.), who spoke at a “Stop The Steal” rally outside the White House ahead of the Capitol riot, are likely being targeted by the probe.
The letters address that likelihood, with the lawmakers telling the companies they “do not consent to the release of confidential call records or data” as part of their threat of legal action.
Banks was tapped by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to serve on the committee in July. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who had the final say over appointments to the panel, vetoed Banks and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), prompting McCarthy to withdraw his other three picks.
“I would certainly recommend he never go there again,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) said Sunday of McCarthy telling the telecom companies the GOP “will not forget” who complied with the request if they retake the House. Kinzinger, one of two Republicans appointed to the committee by Pelosi, said the threat is “really bad politics.”
One ethics watchdog, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), has gone as far as to file a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics requesting an investigation into McCarthy and Greene for public comments they have made threatening companies not to comply with the request.
35. That’s the number of telecom, email and tech companies that were asked by the committee to preserve phone records. The panel has also sent records requests to 15 social media companies and eight federal agencies.
What To Watch For
Kinzinger and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who became vice chair of the committee last week, are facing calls for removal from the House Republican conference, mainly by the same group of lawmakers that sent the letter to Mayer. McCarthy has not yet said whether there will be a vote on whether to remove them, as the lawmakers have requested.