Bennie Thompson Puts Kevin McCarthy On Notice Over Jan 6 Probe

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Following the attack on the U.S. Capitol Building instigated by an ousted president furious with his loss, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy gave a fiery speech, saying that Donald Trump was absolutely responsible for instigating the attack. After experiencing some backlash from Trump supporters in Congress, however, McCarthy reconsidered his position as he longed to be chosen as Speaker of the House should the GOP once again take over the majority, suddenly protecting Trump and dismissing concerns about his involvement in the insurrection.

Evidence that McCarthy was more aware of what was happening on Jan. 6 has prompted the House Select Committee investigating the attack to request an interview with Rep. McCarthy (R-CA). Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) says that the invitation still stands at this time.

According to ABC News, Thompson has said that:

‘If he has information he wants to share with us, and is willing to voluntarily come in, I’m not taking the invitation off the table.’

McCarthy has so far declined to appear, telling reporters that he has nothing to say. He has also insisted that Trump was entirely unaware of the attack taking place at the Capitol at the time that he spoke to him on Jan. 6, and that Trump promised to release a statement to call his supporters off. The characterization of that conversation has been presented quite differently by others who heard McCarthy’s end of it on that day. Still, McCarthy says he has no new information to provide for the committee.

‘I don’t have anything to add. I have been very public, but I wouldn’t hide from anything.’

That statement is not one that Rep. Thompson or any other member of the committee. Saying that a subpoena for McCarthy to speak to the committee may be necessary, he reasserted that McCarthy could come in voluntarily at any time.

‘If Leader McCarthy has nothing to hide, he can voluntarily come before the committee.’

Text messages from the day of the attack show that multiple lawmakers and Fox News personalities pleaded with McCarthy to convince Trump to make efforts to stop the attackers. Even the president’s own son, Donald Trump, Jr., begged McCarthy to intervene. McCarthy responded that he was pushing the president to make a public statement, but that statement didn’t come until a significant time between that text and the actual statement that was issued.

‘McCarthy told at least one colleague that Trump dismissed his request to help stop the riot, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., said in a statement during Trump’s second impeachment trial.’

In addition to investigating whether intelligence officials failed to prepare properly for the attack and the participation and funding of it by right-wing groups like the Proud Boys, Thompson said that the investigation would focus on revealing to the American people the origins of the attack and who should be held responsible at the highest levels of government in order to protect the democratic process.

‘Part of what we will show is what went on to stoke the flames that ultimately led to Jan. 6. What we will do in our hearings is put the pieces of the puzzle together, so the average man and woman on the street will understand how close we came to losing our democracy.’