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Saturday, January 22, 2022

McCarthy says he will not cooperate with January 6 committee investigation

McCarthy said, “As a representative and leader of a minority party, it is with neither regret nor satisfaction that I have concluded not to participate in the abuse of power of this select committee, which is what this institution is today.” stigmatizes it and will harm it later.” statement Wednesday night

The Republican leader alleged that the committee was “not conducting a legitimate investigation,” citing the rejection by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of some of her choices to serve on the panel, and claimed that it was “not serving any legislative purpose.” not fulfilling.”
The committee’s request for McCarthy, detailed in a new letter released Wednesday, marks a key moment in the ongoing investigation as the panel is now seeking cooperation from top Republicans in the House.

“We must also learn about how the President’s plans for January 6 came together, and all the other ways in which they attempted to change the outcome of the election,” wrote Mississippi Democrat Committee Chairman Benny Thompson. “For example, prior to January 6th, you allegedly explained to Mark Meadows and the former president that objections to the validation of electoral votes on January 6th were ‘doomed to fail.’ ,

The letter cited several previous comments made by McCarthy after the riots, including interviews where he discussed his conversations with Trump as the violence unfolded.

“As is abundantly clear, all of this information is directly on President Trump’s state of mind during the January 6 attack because the violence was ongoing,” it said, adding that the committee would like to discuss it with the minority leader.

The panel also made it clear that it intended to question McCarthy about his communications with Trump, White House staff and others in the week following the January 6 attacks, “particularly because of President Trump’s state of mind at the time.” about.”

“The Select Committee has contemporary text messages from multiple witnesses that identify significant concerns about President Trump’s mood and his ongoing conduct by White House staff and supporters of the President on January 6. It appears that you have Had one or more talks with the President during this period,” the letter said.

“It appears that you may also have discussed with President Trump whether he will face a censure motion, impeachment, or removal under the 25th Amendment. It also appears that you have discussed other issues, including the immediate resignation of President Trump from office. Potential alternatives would have been identified,” it added.

In the letter, the committee explores McCarthy’s public comments since the attack and questions whether Trump pressured her to change her tone when the pair met in late January 2021.

“Your public statements regarding January 6 have changed significantly since your meeting with Trump,” the panel said in the letter. “At that meeting, or at any other time, whether President Trump or his representatives discussed or suggested what you should say publicly, during the impeachment trial (if called as a witness), or in January of his About your conversation with the sixth in any subsequent investigation?”

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The panel cited several public reports about the heated exchange between McCarthy and Trump as the attack that became known as it wanted to know more about it.

CNN previously reported about an expletive-laced phone call between McCarthy and Trump while the Capitol was attacked on January 6, where Trump said the rioters cared more about the election results than McCarthy Was.

The letter also cited an interview where McCarthy told a local California news outlet that on January 6 he had “very heated” conversations with Trump, where he asked the then-president to “get help” to the Capitol. said.

In May 2021, McCarthy told CNN’s Manu Raju that “Sure,” he would be ready to testify about his talks with Trump on January 6 if he was asked by an outside commission.

McCarthy is the third Republican lawmaker from whom the committee has requested cooperation in recent weeks following letters to Representative Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Jim Jordan of Ohio. Both Perry and Jordan have indicated that they will not cooperate with the committee voluntarily, and CNN reported earlier on Wednesday that even the panel is currently weighing its options for getting members to comply. .

Kevin McCarthy's comment is a warning sign

The issue is to determine a path that will provide them with the best opportunity to obtain information and interviews using the powers of the committee at their disposal.

The committee is grappling with whether they have the constitutional right to summon their fellow members, and if they do, if they have an enforcement mechanism that will eventually lead to cooperation.

But Wednesday’s letter makes clear that the committee will continue to seek information from its fellow members, even as they deliberate on what to do if Republicans continue to oppose their proposals.

Thompson separately told CNN that the committee specifically wanted to hear from McCarthy why he gave a floor speech on January 13, where he said Trump “takes responsibility” for the January 6 attack.

“We need to bring him before the committee, just to say why did you make such a statement?” Thompson said. “We want to know, did you call the White House and say, ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ We don’t know. We think it’s important because a few days later, he was on the floor, saying that the president had given up some responsibility for what happened. And so we want to know where you came to that decision. ? “

Thompson said the committee does not currently have phone records of anything other than McCarthy or his public statements, and whether the panel will ask the minority leader to turn over the documents “has to be determined.”

Asked if the panel would summon McCarthy for refusing to accept his voluntary request, Thompson said, “We will look into it.”

This story and title have been updated with additional developments from Wednesday.

CNN’s Manu Raju contributed to this report.

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