House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy defended his decision Thursday to decline a request for information from the select committee investigating last year’s Capitol riot.
“There is nothing that I can provide the Jan. 6 committee for legislation .. moving forward,” McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters. “There is nothing in that realm. It is pure politics, what they’re playing.”
McCarthy’s remarks came one day after the panel invited him to discuss a phone conversation with former President Donald Trump during the riot, during which McCarthy reportedly urged the 45th president to quell the violence.
In a statement Wednesday night, McCarthy decried the select committee as an “illegitimate” body whose “only objective is to attempt to damage its political opponents.”
During his weekly press availability Thursday, McCarthy bristled when CNN reporter Manu Raju asked him: “Why should the public not conclude that you’re trying to hide something here and hide the facts from getting out?”
“After Jan. 6 … who was the first person to offer a bipartisan commission to look at that day?” McCarthy fired back. “Was it me? I’ll help you, the answer is yes. Nancy Pelosi waited four months … she just played politics while the Senate had two committees, bipartisan, look at what happened on Jan. 6.”
“Never did I think a Speaker would play such politics and then appoint a chairman who starts the committee by saying, ‘The only person out of bounds is the Speaker,’” McCarthy raged.
The Republican leader also sought to deflect attention to the security failures that allowed the pro-Trump mob to breach the building and interrupt the certification of the 2020 election results.
“Why was the Capitol so ill-prepared that day?” he asked. “And how do we make sure it will never be ill-prepared again?”
When McCarthy was asked about reports that he told some House Republicans on a Jan. 11, 2021 conference call that Trump admitting to bearing “some responsibility” for the violence, the minority leader told reporters that he did not “remember that call.”
However, multiple GOP lawmakers who were on the call have confirmed McCarthy’s reported statements to The Post.
McCarthy also would not say whether he would comply with a subpoena from the committee.
Members of the select committee have said they have not ruled out the possibility of subpoenaing sitting members of Congress to provide information. So far, McCarthy is the third House Republican to be asked to provide information, along with Jim Jordan of Ohio and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) stopped short of supporting a subpoena of McCarthy on Thursday, telling reporters the decision should be left to the committee.
“I think he has an obligation, as we seek the truth, to help with that, but it’s up to the committee as to what they do next,” she said. “They make their decisions, they come forward, and I’m not prepared to say what they do next, but they’ll be telling us.”