McCarthy’s office would not provide CNN with a specific federal statute that a company would be in violation of if it complied with a duly empaneled congressional committee.
While the committee did not make public the names of the lawmakers whose records it is targeting, multiple sources familiar with the panel’s work have confirmed for CNN that the records of several members of Congress are among those the committee would like to be preserved.
The committee has not formally requested any documents, but instead has just asked that records be preserved in the event the probe requires them. McCarthy’s suggestion that cooperating with the committee could be illegal may make it more difficult for the committee to obtain records.
A committee spokesman said later Tuesday that the threat will not impact its work.
“The Select Committee is investigating the violent attack on the Capitol and attempt to overturn the results of last year’s election. We’ve asked companies not to destroy records that may help answer questions for the American people,” spokesman Tim Mulvey said in a statement to CNN. “The committee’s efforts won’t be deterred by those who want to whitewash or cover up the events of January 6th, or obstruct our investigation.”
McCarthy also accused the select committee of strong-arming private companies, specifically naming in his statement committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Adam Schiff, both California Democrats.
It is unclear what means the committee will use to compel the telecommunications companies to cooperate with their request. The committee does have subpoena power, but requesting the information — especially from members of Congress — could lead to a lengthy legal battle.
As CNN previously reported, McCarthy’s name was notably not on the initial list of names the committee sent to the companies for records preservation, according to sources.
Still, the contents of the congressman’s call with Trump during the height of the riot are expected to be of great interest to the committee, and Thompson has repeatedly not ruled out calling McCarthy to testify in front of the committee if that is where the investigation leads.
CNN’s Zachary Cohen and Whitney Wild contributed to this report.