Earlier this week, a federal judge issued a significant blow to Republicans by rejecting the efforts of the Republican National Committee (RNC) to keep their mass email marketing records from the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, as well as their claims that the investigation itself “is improperly constructed and doesn’t serve a valid legislative purpose,” according to the Washington Post.
In his ruling, Judge Timothy Kelly, a Trump appointee, validated the Jan. 6 committee’s goals, helping its efforts to gather information. It has been called a “landmark” ruling that could be cited in other cases moving forward. It also contains sharp rebuttals of the RNC, and of larger Republican efforts to portray the committee as a “witch hunt.”
Republicans complained about the illegitimacy of the committee for it’s lack of Republicans, even though House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R. CA) withdrew his five picks for the committee when Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D. CA) rejected his first two. The only two GOP members of the committee are Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R. Il) and Rep. Liz Cheney (R. WY), both picked by Pelosi.
The committee is also seeking records held by business software company Salesforce in connection with former President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign to determine if Trump’s fund-raising emails helped incite the violence at the Capitol Building with the aim of preventing Joe Biden from being confirmed as President.
U.S. District Judge Kelly soundly rejected the RNC’s claims that the Trump campaign’s emails, as well as their own, was protected free speech under the First Amendment. Kelly also said that the committee has Constitutionally-granted legislative power to obtain records and information.
Judge Kelly wrote:
“It is hard to imagine a more important interest for Congress than to preserve its own ability to carry out specific duties assigned to it under the Constitution. To repeat: according to the Select Committee, its investigation and public reporting suggest that claims that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent or stolen motivated some who participated in the attack, and emails sent by the RNC and the Trump campaign using Salesforce’s platform spread those claims.”
One of the emails, sent only an hour before Trump supporting protesters violently forced their way into the Capitol urged Trump’s followers to “FIGHT BACK,” under the header that stated “This is our LAST CHANCE.”