Jan. 6 committee subpoenas 5 Republican congressmen, including House House Leader,

Jan. 6 committee subpoenas 5 Republican congressmen, including House House Leader,

The committee that was investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol took a unprecedented step Thursday by issuing subpoenas to five Republican congressmen, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

The Democratic-controlled congressmen, including Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Mo Brooks of Alabama and Andy Biggs of Arizona, all asked to sit for voluntary interviews, but all refused.

The subpoenas, which are believed to be the first congressional subpoenas to sitting members, will almost certainly be challenged in court.

The panel said that all five congressmen, who are allies of former President Donald Trump, have information critical to the investigation of the deadly riot by a mob of Trump supporters trying to disrupt President Joe Biden's election victory.

In January, committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss, wrote a letter to McCarthy. The panel wanted to hear about the discussions the House GOP leader may have had with Trump and White House staffers in the days after the riot, including a heated phone call with Trump on January 6.

McCarthy, who was highly critical of Trump immediately after the riot, rejected the request, saying, "I have concluded to not participate with this select committee's abuse of power that stains this institution and will harm it going forward." House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., said she believed a House committee had never subpoenaed a sitting member of Congress in her nearly 30 years of service.

She told NBC News that she had never seen it before.