The House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol is requesting the voluntary cooperation of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), making the latter the highest-ranking Republican lawmaker to be tapped with such a request. McCarthy has since rejected the offer, panning the probe as illegitimate.
In a January 12 memo addressed to House Minority Leader McCarthy, Select Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) requested that the GOP leader provide the 9-member panel with information on a range of topics, “including your conversations with President Trump before, during and after the violent January 6 attack.”
Within his request, Thompson cited January 13, 2021, House floor speech in which McCarthy declared that then-US President Donald Trump” bears responsibility” for the attack on the US Capitol and “should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.”
At the time, the GOP leader also called on Trump to “accept his share of responsibility” in the violence and deaths.
Thompson also cited a number of instances in which McCarthy appeared on television or told members of the press about his January 6, 2021, communications with Trump, including one in which the GOP leader claimed that he had a “very heated conversation” with the former US president amid the riot.
“We also must learn about how the President’s plans for January 6th came together, and all the other ways he attempted to alter the results of the election,” Thompson wrote.
The panel also seeks to question McCarthy about his communications with Trump, White House staff, and others in the week following January 6, 2021, attack, “particularly regarding President Trump’s state of mind at the time.”
According to Thompson’s memo, questions have been raised about whether the GOP leader was coached after he met with Trump at the latter’s Mar-a-Lago resort in late January 2021.
“At that meeting, or at any other time, did President Trump or his representatives discuss or suggest what you should say publicly, during the impeachment trial (if called as a witness), or in any later investigation about your conversations with him on January 6th?” the Select Committee asked.
In a same-day response, McCarthy expressed that he would not be voluntarily cooperating with the 9-member panel’s probe—panning the investigation as illegitimate.
“As a representative and the leader of the minority party, it is with neither regret nor satisfaction that I have concluded to not participate with this select committee’s abuse of power that stains this institution today and will harm it going forward,” the GOP Leader said.
McCarthy notably opposed the formation of the House Select Committee, after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) rejected Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Jim Banks (R-ID) as two of his five proposed appointees. He then withdrew all five of his nominations.
“As you are aware, this committee has no formal representation from Republicans,” he said, following Pelosi’s appointment of Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), two anti-Trump Republicans. McCarthy reiterated his grievances with the group in his Wednesday memo.
“This committee is not conducting a legitimate investigation as Speaker Pelosi took the unprecedented action of rejecting the Republican members I named to serve on the committee. It is not serving any legislative purpose,” he said.