The House committee investigating the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6 formally sought an interview with Minority leader Kevin McCarthy on Wednesday as he was in frequent touch with former President Donald J. Trump during and after the incident.
The letter to McCarthy is the committee's latest attempt to discover more about Trump's conduct during the hours-long melee on Jan. 6, as well as his mental state in the days that followed. McCarthy, a California Republican, is now the panel's highest-ranking politician under investigation.
Panel probing Capitol riot seeks interview with Kevin McCarthy
The panel was particularly interested in a phone contact between McCarthy and Trump during the disturbance. Mr. McCarthy previously characterized the discussion as "extremely intense," in which he requested Trump to deploy assistance to the Capitol as a violent crowd broke into the facility.
Trump sided with the rioters, telling McCarthy that they were clearly more unhappy about the election than the Republican leader, according to a statement offered last year during impeachment hearings.
This was the committee's third effort at persuading a Republican legislator to participate in an interview. Representatives Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Jim Jordan of Ohio have declined to participate in the panel's deliberations. The committee has yet to issue a subpoena for testimony from any legislator, but members have indicated that if interviews are refused, they may do so, according to The New York Times.
McCarthy's reactions to the incident are dissected in the letter, beginning with his statement on the House floor, in which he declared Trump "bears culpability" for the attack. It then relays McCarthy's stressful discussion with the White House during the attack, as well as how he asked Trump to call off his supporters, using numerous sources.
According to the committee, altered during a meeting with Trump at Mar-a-Lago, which was convened after the former president made disparaging remarks about the minority leader. McCarthy faces a number of other questions from the committee, including why he continued to protest to election results until the early morning hours of January 7 and any interactions he had on the subject with Trump, his legal staff, and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).
McCarthy is quoted as telling Trump and his chief of staff Mark Meadows that such an endeavor "was certain to fail" in an extract from Jonathan Karl's ABC News book.
McCarthy's letter also asks for any conversations he had with Trump prior to President Biden's inauguration, including one on January 11 of last year, in which McCarthy reportedly advised Trump to "go forward with a peaceful transition of power, according to The Hill.
McCarthy is the third person asked for voluntary info
McCarthy drew the attention of the committee with his public characterizations following the uproar over his private conversations with Trump. McCarthy recalled his meetings with the president in various comments and interviews, according to Thompson's letter.
The request for voluntary information from a member of Congress from the Republican leader is the committee's third. The subcommittee has also called Republican Representatives Jim Jordan and Scott Perry in recent weeks, but they have declined to meet with legislators or release papers.
The group, which is made up of seven Democrats and two Republicans, has already interrogated over 300 persons and issued subpoenas to more than 40 others in order to compile a full account of the incident on January 6 and the events leading up to it.
The committee claims that the massive amount of information it has gathered - 35,000 pages of documents so far, including texts, emails, and phone records from Trump associates - is helping to flesh out key details of the worst attack on the Capitol in two centuries, which was broadcast live on television, VOA News reported.