Skip to content

House panel investigating Capitol Riot seeks interview with Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy

The House panel investigating the Capitol Hill uprising on Wednesday requested an interview and files from parliamentary minority leader Kevin McCarthy, seeking first-hand details from members of Congress about the actions of the former US president Donald Trump on the day hundreds of his supporters brutally beat police, stormed the building, and disrupted certification for the 2020 election.

Mississippi Representative Bennie Thompson, Democratic panel chairman, asked McCarthy to provide information to the nine-member panel regarding his conversations with Trump “before, during and after” the riot. The request also seeks information about McCarthy’s communications with former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in the days leading up to the attack.

“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.”

McCarthy says he won’t cooperate

Hours after the committee’s request, McCarthy released a statement saying he would refuse to cooperate. He said the investigation was not legitimate and amounted to “abuse of power”.

Without his cooperation, it is still unclear whether the panel will be able to obtain testimony from McCarthy or any other Trump ally in Congress. Although the committee considered issuing subpoenas to other lawmakers, it would be an extraordinary decision and could face legal and political challenges.

Lawmakers are seeking a window into Trump’s state of mind from an ally who has acknowledged repeated interactions with the then president.

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.

Call with Trump

Democrats have asked for more information on McCarthy’s call with Trump that day since the former president’s second impeachment trial in the days following the riot.

At one point in the trial, Democrats said they would try to call Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler as a witness because she described a potentially crucial call between the two after hearing an account from McCarthy.

Herrera Beutler’s statement said McCarthy told him he asked Trump to “call off the riot” publicly and said the violent crowd was made up of Trump supporters, not extreme anti-fa members. left.

She said in the statement: “That’s when, according to McCarthy, the president said, ‘Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.'”

Ultimately, Democrats read a statement by Herrera Beutler on the record. Trump, who had just stepped down, was acquitted by the US Senate.