McCarthy to House Jan. 6 Committee: Nope

House minority leader won't be interviewed
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2022 5:45 PM CST
Updated Jan 13, 2022 12:19 AM CST
Jan. 6 Panel Asks McCarthy to Appear
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., joined at right by Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, holds a news conference last July before the start of a hearing by a select committee on the Jan. 6 insurrection.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Update: Kevin McCarthy won't be giving the House committee probing the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol what it wants. The House minority leader responded quickly to a Wednesday request from the committee asking for his voluntary cooperation, saying that same day that no, he would not sit for an interview. In a statement calling the select committee "illegitimate," McCarthy said, among other things, that the panel "wants to interview me about public statements that have been shared with the world, and private conversations not remotely related to the violence that unfolded at the Capitol. I have nothing else to add." Meanwhile, sources tell CNN that former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany did appear before the committee Wednesday. Our original story from Wednesday follows:

The House committee investigating the Capitol riot has turned its attention to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. On Wednesday, Chairman Bennie Thompson wrote to McCarthy, asking him to provide information about his interactions with former President Trump and his aides around Jan. 6, 2021, the date of the attack. Thompson, a Democrat, suggested McCarthy might have talked to Trump about possible censure, impeachment, "or removal under the 25th Amendment," the letter said, NBC reports. "It also appears that you may have identified other possible options, including President Trump’s immediate resignation from office," Thompson wrote.

The committee wants to know about Trump's state of mind, as well as his actions, per the New York Times. "You have acknowledged speaking directly with the former president while the violence was underway on Jan. 6," Thompson said. McCarthy has described that call as "very heated" and said he asked Trump to intervene to stop the riot. The minority leader has backed away from that account and his criticism of Trump shortly after the attack, per Politico, and has tried to get back into the former president's good graces. McCarthy's office made no comment Wednesday on Thompson's letter.

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McCarthy has said in the past that he'd be willing to appear before the committee, but some of his statements have been ambiguous. The chairman told reporters Wednesday the committee would consider issuing a subpoena if McCarthy declined the request. Two other House Republicans and Trump allies in trying to overturn the presidential election results have turned down the panel's invitations—Jim Jordan and Scott Perry. McCarthy blocked Democratic attempts last year to set up a bipartisan commission to look into the Jan. 6 riot. (Read more Kevin McCarthy stories.)

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