The House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attacks at the US Capitol is asking House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to voluntarily provide information to the panel, including about communications he had with former President Donald Trump on the day of the riot and Trump’s state of mind following the attack.
The committee wants to know more about the conversations the California Republican had with Trump before, during and after the Capitol attack. McCarthy spoke with Trump as the riot was happening and asked him to make a public statement to call off the violence.
“I was very clear with the president when I called him,” McCarthy told CBS of his talks with Trump during the riot. “This has to stop, and he has to go to the American public and tell them to stop this.”
McCarthy recounted a conversation with Trump during the insurrection to Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash. She said when McCarthy was finally able to reach Trump on the day of the insurrection and asked him to make a statement calling it off, Trump falsely claimed the rioters who breached the Capitol were members of Antifa.
According to Herrera Beutler, when McCarthy pushed back and said they were Trump supporters, Trump told him, “‘Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.’”
The committee also notes McCarthy told a local news outlet in California that he had a “very heated conversation” with Trump during the riot and urged him to “get help” to the Capitol.
Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., told McCarthy that his communications with Mark Meadows, Trump’s former White House chief of staff, in the lead-up to Jan. 6 are of interest.
“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,” Thompson said in a statement. “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.’”
McCarthy objected to some electoral votes after the attack. The committee wants to ask McCarthy about his conversations with Trump; Trump’s legal team; Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio; and others about objecting. The panel is also interested in asking about McCarthy’s communications with Trump, White House staff and others in the week following the attack, “particularly regarding President Trump’s state of mind at that time.”
So far, McCarthy, Jordan and Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., are the three GOP lawmakers the select committee has publicly asked to comply with their inquiry. Perry declined to cooperate, and Jordan did the same, sending a letter criticizing the committee as partisan.
Wednesday night, McCarthy released a statement saying he would not cooperate with 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 said that the committee “is not conducting a legitimate investigation, and claimed that it “is not serving any legislative purpose.”
The committee’s vice chairwoman, Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, did not rule out the possibility of the panel subpoenaing McCarthy in the future, saying late Wednesday: “We’re going to evaluate our options, but we will get to the truth.”