Urgent Testimony Of Kevin McCarthy To Jan. 6 Committee Under Consideration

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For all of his apparent efforts to earn approval from pro-Trump elements of the Republican Party — which constitute, well, most of it — House GOP leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) continues to flounder at a remarkable pace. Recently, recordings came out revealing conversations McCarthy had in the wake of last year’s Trump-inspired attack on the Capitol, including one set of remarks in which McCarthy said Trump admitted possessing some responsibility for the violence to the Congressional leader. Clearly, such an admission would be substantially relevant to the House committee investigating the Capitol riot, and committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) says panel investigators are likely to once again reach out to McCarthy for testimony.

As Thompson explained it, “In all probability, [McCarthy] will be issued another invitation to come just like some other members.” On a January 11 conference call last year involving House Republicans, McCarthy said: “Let me be very clear to all of you, and I have been very clear to the president: He bears responsibilities for his words and actions… I asked him personally today: Does he hold responsibility for what happened? Does he feel bad about what happened? He told me he does have some responsibility for what happened and he’d need to acknowledge that.” In another post-riot conversation captured on tape, McCarthy said he’d tell Trump regarding the impeachment push targeting the then-president: “I think this will pass, and it would be my recommendation you should resign.” It sounds like McCarthy had brief moments of moral clarity in the wake of the deadly violence that swept the Capitol grounds and threatened to upend the democratic process in the United States — and then McCarthy threw that all away in favor of continuing his push towards potentially becoming Speaker if Republicans retake the House.

CNN reporter Melanie Zanona said McCarthy told House Republicans this week “he was just floating scenarios about Trump’s future after Jan 6, and received a standing ovation, per multiple sources in the room.” The ovation apparently related to remarks in which McCarthy also pushed for Republican midterm victories.

The riot committee previously sought testimony from McCarthy, but he refused to cooperate. Originally, House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) rejected a couple of his picks for the riot committee but was prepared to allow others — and then McCarthy withdrew all of his picks and essentially abandoned the process, leaving Democrats and the few Republicans concerned with holding Trump accountable to essentially dominate the process. Meanwhile, the riot panel has already heard from nearly 900 people, which no doubt allows committee investigators to put together a remarkably expansive portrait of what happened around the time of the Capitol violence. A federal judge concluded amid a court fight between the panel and ex-Trump attorney John Eastman over records held by the latter that Trump had likely — although not certainly — committed felony offenses amid his attempts to overturn the election outcome.