McCarthy has stated that he will not assist with the January 6th committee investigation.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he would not cooperate with a request from a House select committee investigating the January 6 riot, hours after the panel asked the California Republican to voluntarily provide information, including details about former President Donald Trump’s mental state during the attack and in the weeks following.
“As a representative and the minority party’s leader, it is neither regret nor satisfaction that I have decided not to participate in this select committee’s misuse of power, which stains this institution today and will tarnish it in the future,” McCarthy said in a statement released Wednesday night.
The committee “is not conducting a credible inquiry,” according to the Republican leader, citing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s rejection of some of his nominees for the panel, and it “is not fulfilling any legislative function.”
Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the committee’s vice chairwoman, did not rule out subpoenaing McCarthy in the future, saying late Wednesday: “We’re going to assess our options, but we’ll get to the truth.”
The committee’s request to McCarthy, which was contained in a new letter released Wednesday, marks a turning point in the inquiry because the panel is now requesting cooperation from the House’s top Republican.
“We also need to know how the President’s plans for January 6 came together, as well as all the other ways he sought to tamper with the election results,” wrote committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat. “For example, you allegedly advised Mark Meadows and the former President prior to January 6 that any objections to the certification of the electoral votes on that day ‘were bound to fail.'”
McCarthy’s comments during the unrest, particularly interviews in which he detailed his contacts with Trump as the violence progressed, were cited in the letter.
“As is clear, all of this material weighs directly on President Trump’s state of mind during the January 6th incident as the violence was unfolding,” it added, providing a glimpse into what the committee wants to address with the minority leader.
McCarthy’s conversations with Trump, White House personnel, and others in the week following the January 6 incident, “especially regarding President Trump’s state of mind at the time,” the panel stated.
“Many witnesses have sent the Select Committee contemporaneous text messages expressing serious concerns about President Trump’s mental state and continued behavior by White House employees and associates beyond January 6. During this time, it appears that you had one or more conversations with the President.” The correspondence confirms this.
“It appears that you and President Trump discussed the possibility of a censure resolution, impeachment, or removal under the 25th Amendment. You also appear to have discovered additional possibilities, such as President Trump’s quick resignation from office. “It was also added.
McCarthy’s public comments following the attack are traced in the letter, and the committee examines whether Trump persuaded him to soften his tone when the two met in late January 2021.
In the letter, the panel stated, “Your public views regarding January 6 have altered drastically since you spoke with Trump.” “Did President Trump or his advisers discuss or advise you on what you should say publicly, in the impeachment trial (if called as a witness), or in any future investigation on your interactions with him on January 6, at that meeting, or at any other time?”
The panel wants to learn more about the furious exchange between McCarthy and Trump as the incident progressed, according to various public sources.
McCarthy and Trump had an expletive-laced phone chat while the Capitol was under siege on January 6, during which Trump suggested the rioters cared more about the election results than McCarthy.
McCarthy told a local California news source in an interview that on January 6, he had a “very heated” conversation with Trump during which he begged the then-President to “get aid” to the Capitol.
McCarthy told CSU’s Manu Raju in May 2021 that if an outside commission called him to testify on his conversations with Trump on January 6, he’d be “sure.”
Following letters to Reps. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Jim Jordan of Ohio in recent weeks, McCarthy is the third Republican congressman from whom the committee has requested assistance. Perry and Jordan have both stated that they will not participate with the committee freely, and CSU reported earlier this week that the committee is reviewing its measures for getting members to comply.
The difficulty is identifying a method that will provide them with the best chance of obtaining the material and interviews they require by utilizing the committee’s powers.
The committee is debating whether they have the constitutional authority to issue subpoenas to their fellow members, and if so, whether they have a system in place to enforce those subpoenas that will lead to cooperation.
However, the committee’s letter on Wednesday makes it plain that they will continue to collect information from their colleagues while deciding what to do if Republicans continue to reject their overtures.
Separately, Thompson told CSU that the committee wants to hear from McCarthy on why he believed Trump “bears culpability” for the January 6 incident in a floor speech on January 13.
“We need to get him in front of the committee and ask him why he made that statement,” Thompson remarked. “We’re curious whether you called the White House and asked, “Hey, what’s up?” We have no idea. We believe it’s significant because he was on the floor a few days later, arguing that the President bears some responsibility for what happened. As a result, we’d like to know how you came to that conclusion.”
The committee does not yet have McCarthy’s phone records or anything other than his public pronouncements, according to Thompson, and the panel’s decision on whether or not to ask the minority leader to give over materials is “to be determined.”
“We’ll examine that,” Thompson replied when asked if the panel would subpoena McCarthy if he refused to accept the panel’s voluntary request.
On Wednesday, the story and headline were changed to reflect new information.
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