WASHINGTON (AP) — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of "playing politics" with the probe into the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol for his decision to refuse a request by the House panel investigating the U.S. Capitol insurrection to submit to an interview and turn over records pertaining to the deadly riot.
The panel is seeking first-hand details from members of Congress on then-President Donald Trump’s actions on the day hundreds of his supporters brutally beat police, stormed the building and interrupted the certification of the 2020 presidential election.
McCarthy, R-Calif., issued a statement Wednesday refusing to cooperate with the House committee. He said the investigation was not legitimate and accused the panel of “abuse of power.”
"You can state this, who was the first person to offer a bipartisan commission to look at that day? Was it me? I'll help you, The answer is yes," said McCarthy during a press conference on Thursday. "Nancy Pelosi waited four months. In that time period, as we came here and discussed many times you were here, you would ask me questions, my fear began to erode that she'd play politics with this. You watched it unfold and unfold as she would prepare that, who can, who could have a subpoena power, who can have the scope continuing to fight it all along the way that we now found, she just played politics while the Senate had two committees, bipartisan look at what happened on January six."
Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, Democratic chairman of the panel, requested that McCarthy provide information to the nine-member panel about his conversations with Trump “before, during and after” the riot. The request also seeks information about McCarthy’s communications with then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in the days before the attack.
In his letter, Thompson said the panel “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. For example, in advance of January 6th, you reportedly explained to Mark Meadows and the former President that objections to the certification of the electoral votes on January 6th ‘was doomed to fail.’”
When asked about his discussions with former President Donald Trump during the Capitol riots, McCarthy said, "My conversation was very short (with Trump on Jan. 6) advising the president of what was happening here. There is nothing that I can provide the January 6 committee for legislation of their moving forward. There is nothing in that realm. It is pure politics of what they're playing."
It remains unclear whether the panel will be able to gain testimony from McCarthy or any other congressional allies of Trump. While the committee has considered subpoenaing fellow lawmakers, that would be an extraordinary move and could run up against legal and political challenges.
Watch the Full Press Conference Below: