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House panel investigating Capitol riot seeking interview with Kevin McCarthy

The House panel investigating the Capitol Riot on Wednesday requested an interview and recordings from parliamentary minority leader Kevin McCarthy, handing over its investigation to a prominent ally of former US President Donald Trump in Congress.

Mississippi Representative Bennie Thompson, Democratic panel chairman, asked McCarthy to provide information to the nine-member panel regarding the attack and his communications with former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in the days leading up to the Jan.6, 2021, when a violent mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building and attempted to prevent Congress from certifying federal election results in favor of Joe Biden.

Request seeks information on McCarthy’s conversations with Trump “before, during and after” the riot, with lawmakers seeking a window into Trump’s state of mind from ally who acknowledged repeated interactions with the then president.

“We also need to learn how the president’s plans for Jan. 6 came to fruition and all the other ways he tried to alter election results,” Thompson said in the letter to McCarthy. “For example, before January 6, you would have explained to Mark Meadows and the former president that objections to the certification of electoral votes on January 6” were doomed to failure. “

The committee also wants to ask McCarthy about communications with Trump and White House staff in the week following the violence, including a reportedly heated conversation with Trump.

The committee acknowledged the sensitive and unusual nature of his request by proposing a meeting with McCarthy on February 3-4.

“The select committee has immense respect for the prerogatives of Congress and the privacy of its members,” Thompson wrote. “At the same time, we have a solemn responsibility to thoroughly investigate the facts and circumstances of these events.

A request for comment from McCarthy’s office was not immediately returned.

McCarthy’s comments scrutinized

McCarthy caught the committee’s attention with his public characterizations after the riot of his private talks with Trump.

Thompson’s letter cites several statements and interviews in which McCarthy described his interactions with the President, including a CBS interview in which McCarthy said: “I was very clear with the President when I called him. has to stop and he has to go to the American public and tell them to stop this. “

One of his Republican colleagues, Washington Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, said McCarthy told him Trump told him, ‘Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are. “

The Republican leader is the third member of Congress the committee has turned to for voluntary information.

In recent weeks, GOP representatives Jim Jordan and Scott Perry have also been contacted by the panel, but have declined requests to sit down with lawmakers or provide documents.

The panel, made up of seven Democrats and two Republicans, has already interviewed more than 300 people and issued subpoenas to more than 40 as it seeks to create a comprehensive record of the January 6 attack and the events that led there.