The House panel investigating the US Capitol insurgency has asked for an interview and reports from minority group leader Kevin McCarthy and is shifting their investigation to a top ally of former President Donald Trump in the United States. Congress.
Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, Democratic chairman of the panel, asked McCarthy, R-Calif., to provide information to the nine-member panel about the violence that took place last January and his communications with former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in the days before the attack.
The request seeks information about McCarthy’s conversations with Trump “before, during and after” the riots, with lawmakers seeking a peek into Trump’s state of mind from an ally who has acknowledged repeated interactions with the then-president. The committee also wants to question McCarthy about communications with Trump and White House staff in the week following the violence, including a conversation with Trump that was reportedly heated.
The committee acknowledged the sensitive and unusual nature of her request when it proposed a meeting with McCarthy on Feb. 3 or 4. “The select committee has tremendous respect for the prerogatives of Congress and the privacy of its members,” Thompson wrote. “At the same time, we have a solemn responsibility to fully investigate the facts and circumstances of these events.
A request for comment from McCarthy’s office was not immediately answered.
McCarthy drew the committee’s attention through his public characterizations following the riot of his private talks with Trump. Thompson’s letter cites multiple statements and interviews in which McCarthy described his interactions with the president, including a CBS interview in which McCarthy said, “I was very clear with the president when I called him. This has got to stop and he has to go to the American public and tell them to stop this.”
The Republican leader is the third congressman to approach the committee for voluntary information. In recent weeks, GOP representatives Jim Jordan and Scott Perry were also contacted by the panel, but they have declined requests to meet with lawmakers or provide documents.
The panel, made up of seven Democrats and two Republicans, has already interviewed more than 300 people and issued more than 40 subpoenas to provide a comprehensive account of the January 6 attack and the events leading up to it.
The commission says the extraordinary amount of material it has collected — 35,000 pages of records so far, including texts, emails and phone records from people close to Trump — provides critical details of the worst attack on the Capitol in two centuries, which played live on television.
Thompson told The Associated Press in an interview last month that about 90% of the witnesses subpoenaed by the commission have cooperated, despite opposition from high-profile Trump allies such as Meadows and Steve Bannon. Lawmakers said they have been effective in gathering information from other sources, in part because they share a unit of purpose rarely seen in a congressional investigation.