“As a representative and leader of the minority party, 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,” McCarthy said in a statement. Wednesday night statement.
“We must also learn how the president’s plans for January 6, and all the other ways in which he attempted to alter the outcome of the election, came together,” Committee Chair Benny Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi, wrote. “For example, prior to January 6, you reportedly made it clear to Mark Meadows and the former president that objections to the validation of the January 6 electoral votes were “doomed to fail.”
The letter cited several previous comments McCarthy made in the wake of the riots, including interviews in which he discussed his conversations with Trump as the violence erupted.
“Obviously, all of this information has a direct bearing on President Trump’s state of mind during the January 6 attack as the violence was ongoing,” the statement said, providing a window into what the committee wants to discuss with the minority leader.
The committee also made it clear that it wanted to question McCarthy about his communications with Trump, White House staff and others in the week after the January 6 attack, “particularly regarding President Trump’s state of mind at the time.”
“The Select Committee has contemporary text messages from multiple witnesses identifying significant post-January 6 concerns held by White House staff and the President’s supporters regarding President Trump’s state of mind and ongoing behavior. It appears that you have had one or more conversations with the President during this period.” , came in the message.
“It appears that you may have also discussed with President Trump the possibility of him facing an impeachment, impeachment or impeachment decision under the 25th Amendment. It also appears that you may have identified other potential options, including President Trump’s immediate resignation from office,” he added.
“Your public statements about January 6 have changed significantly since you met Trump,” the committee said in the letter. “At that meeting, or at any other time, did President Trump or his representatives discuss or suggest what you should say in public, during the impeachment trial (if you are called as a witness), or at any subsequent investigation into your conversations with him on January 6?
The committee cites multiple public reports about the heated exchange between McCarthy and Trump with the revelations of the attack that it wants to know more about.
The letter also cites an interview in which McCarthy told a local California media that on Jan. 6 he had a “very heated” conversation with Trump in which he asked the then-president to “get help” at the Capitol.
In May 2021, McCarthy told CNN’s Manu Raju that he would “certainly” be willing to testify about his talks with Trump on January 6 if asked by an outside panel.
McCarthy is the third Republican lawmaker the committee has requested cooperation from after letters to Representatives Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Jim Jordan of Ohio in recent weeks. Perry and Jordan have both indicated that they will not voluntarily cooperate with the committee, and CNN reported earlier Wednesday that even the committee is currently considering its options to get members to comply.
At issue is which path would give them the best chance of obtaining the information and interviews they are looking for using the powers of the committee at their disposal.
The commission is wrestling to see if they have the constitutional right to recall fellow members, and if they do, if they have an enforcement mechanism that will eventually lead to cooperation.
But Wednesday’s letter makes clear that the committee will continue to seek information from fellow members even as they deliberate what to do if Republicans continue to resist their initiatives.
Thompson separately told CNN that the committee specifically wants to hear from McCarthy about why he gave a speech on January 13 in which he said Trump “bears responsibility” for the January 6 attack.
“We need to bring it up to the committee to just say, Why did you make that statement?” Thomson said. “We’d like to know, did you call the White House and say, ‘Hey, what’s going on? “We don’t know. We think it’s important because after a few days, he was on the ground, saying that the president had abdicated some responsibility for what happened. And so we’d like to know, where did you come to that decision?”
Thompson said the committee currently has no phone records from McCarthy or anything other than his public statements, and the decision whether the committee will ask the minority leader to turn over the documents “will be decided.”
Asked if the committee would summon McCarthy if he refused to accept his voluntary application, Thompson said, “We’ll look into it.”
This story and title were updated with additional developments on Wednesday.
CNN’s Morgan Rimmer and Manu Raju contributed to this report.