In the days following the deadly terrorist insurrection on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had no issue going around publicly telling whomever was listening that former President Donald Trump was the man behind the curtain, responsible for leading the mob to riot—which is exactly why the House select committee wants to hear from McCarthy himself.
According to CNN, McCarthy appeared on KERN, a local Bakersfield, California, radio station on Jan. 12, and spilled the beans on heir Trump.
“I say he has responsibility,” McCarthy said. “He told me personally that he does have some responsibility. I think a lot of people do.”
McCarthy also blabbed about Trump to House Republicans during a private conference on Jan. 11. CNN obtained a copy of a transcript of the call.
“Let me be clear to you and I have been very clear to the President. He bears responsibility for his words and actions. No if ands or buts,” McCarthy told House Republicans on Jan. 11, 2021, according to the readout obtained by CNN from a source listening to the call. “I asked him personally today if he holds responsibility for what happened. If he feels bad about what happened. He told me he does have some responsibility for what happened. But he needs to acknowledge that.”
But now, all of a sudden, McCarthy apparently has no memory of ever having this conversation, he said during a press conference Thursday.
But in the radio interview, McCarthy said he’d spoken with Trump during the insurrection and in fact, was the first person to call him.
“I told him to go on national TV, tell these people to stop it. He said he didn’t know what was happening. We went to the news then to work through that. I asked the president, he has a responsibility. You know what the President does, but you know what? All of us do,” McCarthy said.
He later added that he told Trump to call in the National Guard and go on TV.
All of this is of particular interest to the House committee. But of course, McCarthy is a pulling a McCarthy and refusing to cooperate.
“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 said in a statement Wednesday night.
The Republican leader is putting the blame on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the fact that she rejected some of picks to serve on the panel. Pelosi “is not conducting a legitimate investigation,” he’s claiming and the committee “is not serving any legislative purpose.”
But Rep. Liz Cheney isn’t playing footsie with these ne’er do wells, and hasn’t ruled out a subpoena for McCarthy, saying, “We’re going to evaluate our options, but we will get to the truth.”
A letter from the committee outlines the investigation into McCarthy.
“We also must learn about how the President’s plans for January 6th came together, and all the other ways he attempted to alter the results of the election,” wrote committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi. “For example, in advance of January 6th, you reportedly explained to Mark Meadows and the former President that objections to the certification of the electoral votes on January 6th ‘was doomed to fail.'”
The committee believes that all of McCarthy’s interactions with Trump go toward explaining the ex-president’s state of mind during the attack.