By Sam Ozer-Staton

In late August, the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol requested that 35 telecommunications and social media companies preserve the personal communications of hundreds of people who may have been connected to the attack. 

The same day, CNN reported that the committee requested the preservation of the records of sitting members of Congress, including Republican representatives Jim Jordan, Andy Biggs, and Paul Gosar.

The kinds of records requests made by the committee are not new. Congress has long had the authority to compel evidence from third parties using its subpoena power. In 2019, for example, during the first impeachment inquiry into former President Trump, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence subpoenaed phone records from multiple telecommunications providers. The records revealed that Rudy Giuliani and Rep. Devin Nunes, among others, had been in contact with Lev Parnas, who had been pushing Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his family.