Kevin McCarthy Gets Fact Checked Hard At 1st Press Conference

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At the Capitol on Thursday, House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy faced a quick fact-check from a journalist over his stance on Democrats getting roles on committees that sparked an angry tirade. It wasn’t a great look.

Asked about what sounded like how targets of investigative subpoenas from the new House GOP majority might respond, McCarthy insisted his own dismissive response to a subpoena from the House committee that investigated the Capitol riot, to which targets of future subpoenas might point, wasn’t just “ignoring” the subpoena.

Instead, McCarthy said he responded by saying he would comply if Republicans “got to appoint people to the committee.” House Republicans had the opportunity for formal participation by the chamber conference, and McCarthy rejected it after Nancy Pelosi rejected two of his five picks for membership. “You will find the fundamental difference of me being a Speaker and Nancy Pelosi — the other side will get to name their members on the committee,” McCarthy claimed, evidently in discussion of a new panel planned for this forthcoming Congress in which Republicans hope to conduct wide-ranging investigations of the circumstances of prior and ongoing law enforcement probes. “It won’t be handpicked by me and denying the Democrats their voice. So whatever transpires out of that committee is work to Republicans and Democrats as we move forward.”

A reporter pointed out the contrast between McCarthy’s insistence about his supposedly equal treatment of Dems and Republicans and his stated ambitions to block Dems in the House, including Eric Swalwell and Adam Schiff, from key panel roles. McCarthy launched into an angry recap of some of the access Swalwell has previously had to sensitive info as part of a role on the intel panel in the House. Swalwell had past interactions with an individual suspected of conducting intel operations for Chinese authorities. There’s apparently zero indication Swalwell knowingly continued interacting with this individual once informed of their origin, and it’s unclear there’s any actual evidence of a breach associated with his ties to that person.

Predictably, McCarthy was also mad about Schiff’s involvement in the Russia probe. “Adam Schiff openly lied to the American public,” the Speaker insisted. “He told you he had proof. He told you he didn’t know the whistleblower. He put America for four years through an impeachment that he knew was a lie.” The impeachment proceedings from the middle of Trump’s term didn’t last four years, and when that case started, those involved didn’t even connect it to the Russia investigation. It was something else. It’s also unclear Schiff personally knew the whistleblower whose complaint helped kickstart those proceedings, although his team interacted with the individual as they sought assistance with their concerns before the issue was later made public. The anger in McCarthy’s tone makes it evident that reporters struck a nerve. Check out the clip below: