Tuesday, January 18, 2022

WATCH LIVE: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy Holds Weekly News Briefing

WASHINGTON (AP) – House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is holding a weekly news briefing Thursday as a Republican rejects a request from a House commission investigating the US Capitol uprising for interviews and tapes regarding the bloody rioting.

The event is scheduled to start at 11:30. Look in the player above.

The commission is seeking first-hand information from members of Congress about then-President Donald Trump’s actions on the day that hundreds of his supporters brutally beat police, stormed the building and interrupted the certification of the 2020 presidential election.

McCarthy, Calif., Issued a statement on Wednesday not cooperating with the House committee. He said the investigation was illegal and accused the commission of “abuse of power.”

On Thursday, he told Fox News that he had nothing to add other than his interviews with the media in the wake of the riots. He said that some committee members want to “deprive me of the opportunity to be speaker” if the Republicans go over the House of Representatives in the 2022 midterm elections.

Mississippi Rep. Benny Thompson, chairman of the Democratic commission, demanded that McCarthy provide the nine-member group with information about his conversations with Trump “before, during and after” the riots. The request also asks for information about McCarthy’s connections with then White House chief of staff Mark Meadows in the days leading up to the attack.

McCarthy told Fox News on Thursday that he has nothing to add other than his media interviews in the wake of the riots.

He said that some members of the House of Representatives commission wanted to “strip me of the opportunity to be speaker” if the Republicans go over the House in the 2022 midterm elections.

In his letter, Thompson said the commission “needs to find out about how the president’s plans for January 6th and all the other ways in which he tried to change the election results were going. For example, prior to January 6, you reportedly explained to Mark Meadows and the former president that objections to the January 6 electoral vote were “doomed to fail.”

It remains unclear whether the commission will be able to obtain testimony from McCarthy or any other Trump allies in Congress. While the committee was considering bringing fellow legislators to court, this would be an extraordinary step and could run into legal and political problems.

The group seeks 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 interrogate McCarthy about communications with Trump and White House staff during the week following the violence, including a conversation with Trump that was reportedly heated.

The committee acknowledged the delicate and unusual nature of its request, offering to meet with McCarthy on either February 3 or 4. “The Special Committee has great respect for the prerogatives of Congress and the privacy of its members,” Thompson wrote. “At the same time, we are solely responsible for a full investigation of the facts and circumstances of these events.”

Democrats are looking for more information about McCarthy’s ties to Trump following the former president’s second impeachment trial last year. At some point in the trial, Democrats said they would try to summon Rep. Jaime Herrera Beitler from Washington State as a witness because she described a potentially crucial call between two men after hearing McCarthy’s report.

Herrera Beitler said in a statement that McCarthy told her that he had asked Trump to publicly “end the riot” and said the violent crowd was Trump supporters, not extreme left-wing antifa members, as Trump originally claimed.
In a statement, she said, “It was then, according to McCarthy, that the president said,” Well, Kevin, I think these people are more upset with the election than you are. “

In the end, the Democrats read Herrera Beitler’s statement into the minutes. The Senate acquitted Trump, who had just stepped down from office.

McCarthy initially criticized Trump’s actions after the 2020 elections, saying he was “responsible” for the deadly January 6 attack, which remains the most serious home attack on a building in his history.

“The saddest day I have ever had,” McCarthy said on the night of the attack in Congress, even as he joined 138 other House Republicans in the vote to reject the election results.

The commission’s latest request also brings McCarthy face to face with her vice-chairman, Rep. Liz Cheney, whom he fired last summer as leader of the No. 3 House of Representatives because of her very public criticism of Trump’s lies about his 2020 election. the loss hit the GOP.

The GOP leader advised Cheney to stay updated, but as she continued to warn the party against Trump’s lies, McCarthy trained Trump’s newly reformed aide, Rep. Alice Stephanick, RN.Y., to replace her.

McCarthy is the third member of Congress to be contacted by the committee for voluntary information. Over the past few weeks, the commission has also contacted GOP officials Jim Jordan and Scott Perry, but they have denied requests to meet with lawmakers or provide documents.

The group, made up of seven Democrats and two Republicans, interviewed nearly 350 people and sent public subpoenas to approximately 50 individuals and organizations, seeking to create a comprehensive account of the January 6 attack and the events that preceded it.

Former White House press secretary Kayleigh Makinani spoke with the group virtually on Wednesday, according to a person familiar with the interview, who asked for anonymity to discuss it. The committee summoned Makinani to court in November.

The committee says it has amassed an extraordinary treasure trove of material – 35,000 pages of tapes, including text, emails and telephone tapes from people close to Trump – fleshing out critical details of the worst attack on the Capitol in two centuries, played live.

Thompson told The Associated Press in an interview last month that about 90% of the witnesses summoned to court by the committee cooperated, despite the defiance of senior Trump allies such as Meadows and Steve Bannon. Legislators said they were able to effectively gather information from other sources, in part because they share a commonality of purpose rarely seen in Congressional investigations.

Associated Press author Mary Claire Jalonik contributed to this report.

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