Who could’ve seen this coming?
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) rejected the House Jan. 6 select committee’s request for information on the Capitol insurrection, including his conversations with then-President Donald Trump during and after the attack.
In his announcement, McCarthy claimed the committee was “not conducting a legitimate investigation” and that its “only objective” is to “attempt to damage its political opponents,” citing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) rejection of some of the Republicans he had nominated to join the panel. Pelosi did accept two of McCarthy’s other nominees, but the minority leader chose to pull the others from the panel in retaliation.
The House GOP leader insisted on Wednesday that his “private conversations” were “not remotely related to the violence that unfolded at the Capitol,” therefore “I have nothing else to add” to the investigation.
“As a representative and the leader of the minority party, it is with neither regret nor satisfaction that I have concluded to not participate with this select committee’s abuse of power that stains this institution today and will harm it going forward,” McCarthy stated.
During his weekly press conference on Thursday, McCarthy defended his refusal to cooperate with the panel, which asked for the details of his highly scrutinized Jan. 6 call with Trump. During that call the then-president told McCarthy “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election then you are,” according to Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA).
McCarthy insisted on Thursday that he’s been transparent about the call from the start, saying it was “very short” and he was just “advising” Trump on what was happening at the Capitol during the attack.
The GOP leader also claimed not to know about an internal House GOP call that the panel said he held on Jan. 11 last year in which he told conference members that Trump had privately admitted “some degree of responsibility” for the insurrection.
“I’m not sure what call you’re talking about,” McCarthy replied when a reporter asked him about the call, which was cited in the panel’s information request.
McCarthy’s defiance of the committee’s request echoes that of Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Scott Perry (R-PA), the two other GOP representatives who’ve been contacted by the panel for voluntary interviews.
After McCarthy made his announcement on Wednesday evening, committee vice chair and ex-fellow House GOP leader Liz Cheney (R-WY) signaled that the panel was open to taking the unprecedented step of subpoenaing him.
“We’re going to evaluate our options, but we will get to the truth,” Cheney told CNN, adding that McCarthy was “clearly trying to cover up what happened.”
“I wish that he were a brave and honorable man,” she said.