WASHINGTON — Despite initially saying he would be ready to discuss a phone call he had with former President Donald Trump as the violent protest unfolded, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said on Wednesday that he would not offer details to the Jan. 6 committee regarding communications involving the attack on the Capitol.
His remarks came only hours after Committee Chair Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., sought a meeting with McCarthy in early February.
McCarthy says he was on a call with Trump as the attack occurred when speaking to Fox News in April. McCarthy replied, “Sure,” when reporters asked if he would be prepared to testify to an outside panel about his Jan. 6 talk with Trump.
In a 232-197 vote, Trump was impeached for “incitement to insurrection,” with 10 Republicans voting with Democrats. In a 57-43 vote in the Senate, he was acquitted, with seven Republican senators voting for punishment.
McCarthy is the highest-ranking Republican in the House called out by the committee, which has also requested material from two other members, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan and Pennsylvania Rep. Scott Perry.
Thompson did not rule out a subpoena for McCarthy when speaking with reporters on Wednesday afternoon.
McCarthy stated Trump “bears responsibility” for the “attack on Congress by mob rioters” in a House floor speech a few days after Jan. 6.
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the panel’s vice chairwoman, told reporters Wednesday night that members of the panel will consider their alternatives and will get to the truth when asked about McCarthy’s failure to cooperate with the committee’s request.
Members of the panel met with Kayleigh McEnany, the former White House press secretary, earlier on Wednesday.
The meeting was initially reported by CNN.
In a November letter to McEnany, the panel stated that “investigation and public accounts have uncovered compelling evidence of McEnany’s role in the incidents well within the range of the Select Committee’s inquiry.
The letter cited McEnany’s public statements when she was still White House press secretary, noting a media briefing after the 2020 election as an example.
“You claimed that there were ‘very real claims’ of fraud that the former president’s re-election campaign was pursuing, and said that mail-in voting was one that ‘we have identified as being particularly prone to fraud,” the panel stated.