Shortly after violent Trump supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol, GOP leader Kevin McCarthy did something crazy, for a Republican: He told the truth about the insurrection and exactly who was responsible for what occurred that day. “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters,” McCarthy said in a floor speech. “He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.” Unfortunately, McCarthy’s brief display of a spine did not last. That same day he would vote against Donald Trump’s (second) impeachment, and a couple months after that, he was out there straight-up lying about the attack on Trump’s behalf, telling Fox News: “I was the first person to contact him when the riots were going on. He didn’t see it,” McCarthy claimed, falsely. “What he ended the call with saying, telling me he’ll put something out to make sure to stop this, and that’s what he did. He put a video out later.” Trump, of course, did not put out a video till hours after the attack began, and when he did, it was, in part, to justify the attack and tell the rioters he loved them. Meanwhile, we know Trump was fully aware of what was transpiring at the Capitol because (1) he was the president, (2) he was watching it on TV, and (3) as has been widely reported, McCarthy and Trump got into a screaming match when the House leader called Trump, begging him to stop the violence, and the then president responded, “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.”
Anyway, we bring all this up because, surprise! McCarthy has made it clear he will not be complying with the January 6 committee’s request for his cooperation in investigating the day the leader of the free world tried to overthrow democracy.
Per The Washington Post:
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Thursday continued to defy the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, claiming there was no information he could provide the panel about what President Donald Trump did that day to stop the attack, although the two men spoke privately.
In a contentious news conference, McCarthy repeatedly evaded questions about whether he would defy a subpoena from the committee, and he accused the investigation of being “pure politics.” The committee’s leaders said Thursday that they are considering issuing a subpoena to McCarthy after he rejected a request to voluntarily provide information about his communications with Trump and his White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, during and after the attack.
McCarthy…doubled down Thursday on his view that the January 6 committee is leading a partisan investigation under the leadership of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) with the goal of damaging Republicans. When asked about McCarthy’s defiance of the January 6 committee’s requests, Pelosi said Thursday that McCarthy “has an obligation” to cooperate with the investigation. When asked if the committee is justified in using its subpoena powers against McCarthy, Pelosi deferred to the panel’s leadership and said she “has no intention” of interfering with the committee’s work.
In an interview on Thursday, Rep. Liz Cheney, vice chair of the panel, accused McCarthy of trying to hide what happened on January 6, which certainly seems to be the case. “I wish that he were a brave and honorable man,” Cheney said. “He’s clearly trying to cover up what happened. He has an obligation to come forward, and we’ll get to the truth.”
Meanwhile, in its letter to McCarthy, the committee suggested that it could go after Trump for witness tampering based on McCarthy’s shifting comments about the insurrection, which went from “the president bears responsibility” to, basically, “the president did nothing wrong.”
Per the Post:
The letter suggestively notes this happened after McCarthy made the decision to visit the former president, whom he had blamed for the Capitol riot, at Mar-a-Lago on January 28. And then it just comes out and asks McCarthy whether Trump’s team had any bearing on his reversal.
“Your public statements regarding January 6th have changed markedly since you met with Trump,” committee chairman Bennie Thompson wrote. “At that meeting, or at any other time, did President Trump or his representatives discuss or suggest what you should say publicly, during the impeachment trial (if called as a witness), or in any later investigation about your conversations with him on January 6th?”
As the Post’s Aaron Blake notes, in an interview last spring, Fox News’ Chris Wallace asked Cheney if witness tampering was something the committee was looking into, saying, “Do you think that raises issues of his—President Trump’s responsibility for the riot, whether or not he’s trying to tamper with Kevin McCarthy as a witness?” To which Cheney responded, “Certainly.” Witness tampering, of course, can be charged as a felony, and if the committee were able to prove it, it would probably result in a criminal referral to the Justice Department.
Just something for Trump and his buddy Kevin to think about!
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