McCarthy rejects committee’s Jan. 6 request to testify about talks with Trump

In a statement later Wednesday, McCarthy said he would not cooperate with the request.

“As the representative and leader of the minority party,” he said, “I have neither regret nor relief that I have concluded not to participate in this select committee’s abuse of power that pollutes this institution today and will harm it in the future.”

Asked if the commission would summon him to ensure his compliance, Thompson told reporters, “We’ll look into it.” McCarthy is the third Republican lawmaker the committee has asked to testify. The others, Representatives Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Scott Perry (R-Pen), rejected the committee’s pleas. Both men have been key allies of Trump in his quest to undermine the outcome of the 2020 election.

Thompson said the select committee is particularly interested in McCarthy’s changing tone about his characterization of Trump’s actions during the riots, adding that members intend to ask him whether Trump or his allies have suggested “what you should say publicly during the impeachment trial (if described as a witness), or in Any subsequent investigation into your conversations with him on January 6.”

In addition, Thompson said he was not aware of whether the commission had obtained any of McCarthy’s text messages or bank records. McCarthy’s phone records were based on an initial preservation request that the commission sent to carriers at the start of its investigation.

Notably, the select committee obtained a set of text messages sent and received by Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows, who had briefly cooperated with its investigation. The committee is also battling the former president in court to obtain Trump’s White House call records from the National Archives, a matter pending before the Supreme Court.

McCarthy, who helped thwart an attempt to establish a bipartisan commission to investigate the insurgency, spent months crushing the January 6 commission. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected two of McCarthy’s initial selections to sit on the committee – Jordan and Representative Jim Banks (R-India) – seeing them as too entangled with Trump to be credible investigators. In turn, McCarthy withdrew the three remaining appointees and boycotted the entire commission.

McCarthy also issued a veiled threat to telecoms companies that cooperated with the Jan. 6 committee’s request for lawmakers’ phone records, saying that next year’s GOP majority “will not forget” its decisions.

The committee suggested a meeting on February 3 or February 4, or a date the following week.

McCarthy has softened his tone toward Trump since the aftermath of the Capitol riots. He initially said on the House floor that Trump “takes responsibility” for the violence, but within six months began to avoid such questions.

Some House Republicans who wanted to purge the party of Trump blamed McCarthy for returning Trump to a position of influence — especially after the House Republican leader met Trump in Mar-a-Lago just weeks after the attack. But Trump loyalists in the House of Representatives welcomed the move.

McCarthy’s early criticism after the rebellion angered Trump, who has at times criticized the lawmaker. But McCarthy has worked hard to bolster ties with Trump and the former president’s allies in the House of Representatives, as he heads toward his goal of demanding a speaker’s gavel in 2023, if Republicans retake the hall.

The Republican Party leader also gave mixed responses when asked if he would testify. In May, he answered a reporter’s question with “sure.” Other times, he gave less clear-cut responses.

In an interview with local California Eyewitness News in late December, McCarthy was asked if he would testify before the January 6 panel. He replied, “I have nothing to add already. I have been very public, but I will not hide anything either.”

In its letter to McCarthy, the committee also revealed a new text message from Fox News host Laura Ingraham to Meadows urging Trump on January 12, 2021 to discourage supporters from bringing guns to the Capitol.

Notes on camera discourage protests against state independence[o]ls esp with weapons will be careful given how hot the situation is. [E]One needs calm and prayers for our country and for those who lost their lives last week,” Ingraham said to the then Chief of Staff.

The letter came amid growing fears of violent attacks on the Capitol in the wake of the January 6 rebellion.

A Fox News representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Andrew Naughtie

News reporter and author at @websalespromo