In a column for the Guardian, Sidney Blumenthal -- a former senior White House adviser under President Bill Clinton -- explained that there is no legal reason why the House select committee investigating the Jan 6th insurrection can't call upon Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) or any other lawmaker to testify in public.
With members of the committee reportedly making up a list of witnesses they would like to subpoena in order to get to the bottom of how the riot began and who was complicit in inciting it, there have been questions whether members of the House can compel some of their colleagues to appear and answer questions about their conversations with ex-president Donald Trump on that day.
The Washington Post reported on Saturday that committee members are weighing what could "...lead to an unprecedented legal and political showdown over how to force members of Congress to take the witness stand."
As Blumenthal explained in his Guardian column, there is a legal precedent if the committee wants to call Jordan or House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to the stand based upon another violent insurrection that occurred in 1859.
Quoting Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) claiming, "I don't know what the precedent is, to be honest," Blumenthal added, "There is one."
"After a bloody insurrection was quelled, a congressional committee was created to investigate the organization of the insurrection, sources of funding, and the connections of the insurrectionists to members of Congress who were indeed called to testify. And did," Blumenthal wrote before citing abolitionist John Brown's attack on Harpers Ferry on October 16, 1859.
After the trial of Brown, Blumenthal wrote, "the Senate created the Select Committee to Inquire into the Late Invasion and Seizure of the Public Property at Harpers Ferry. Senator James M Mason of Virginia, the sponsor of the Fugitive Slave Act, was chairman. He appointed as chief prosecutor Jefferson Davis of Mississippi. Davis was particularly intent on questioning Senator William H Seward of New York, the likely Republican candidate for president."
According to Blumenthal, lawmakers had been alerted that Brown might be planning something including Henry Wilson, a Republican from Massachusetts who later served as Ulysses S. Grant's vice-president. The columnist then added that both Seward and Wilson were called before the investigating committee and that they complied.
Adding "Other witnesses were subpoenaed and warrants were issued for the arrest of those who failed to appear," Blumenthal explained that the committee in their final report -- written by Jefferson Davis -- cited the Constitution when explaining their justification for getting their colleagues to testify.
"The Senate committee concluded its report citing the fourth section of article four of the constitution: 'The United States shall guaranty to every State in this Union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion, and, on the application of the legislature or of the executive, (when the legislature cannot be convened,) against domestic violence,'" Blumenthal wrote before noting that Davis himself, just eight months later, "...assumed command of the greatest insurrection against the United States in its history, sworn in as president of the Confederacy."
You read all of the historical details here.