Fact-checking Kevin McCarthy’s comments about January 6 committee

The committee asked McCarthy to voluntarily provide information on topics including his conversations with then-President Donald Trump before, during and after the Capitol riots. On Thursday, McCarthy again criticized the committee at length — but he did so at times inaccurately.

This is a validation of three of his claims on Thursday.

McCarthy criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for playing politics with the committee, and claimed that “Nancy Pelosi decided, for the first time in history by any female president, to deny a minority the placement of her own people on a committee.”

facts first: McCarthy’s claim is misleading. Pelosi rejected two of the five committee members proposed by McCarthy, Representatives Jim Jordan and Jim Banks, due to concerns about “Statements made and actions taken— but she accepted McCarthy’s three other choices, namely He also gave McCarthy a chance Proposing two other members to replace Jordan and Banks. Instead, McCarthy I decided to withdraw The three members accepted by Pelosi. Even after he did, the minority party still had representation on the committee: Representative Liz Cheney, who had her Pelosi has already been selected Before McCarthy withdrew his choices, and Adam Kinzinger who Pelosi was selected later. Both Cheney and Kinzinger are outspoken Trump critics who have been at odds with many of their fellow Republicans, but are elected Republicans nonetheless.
Additionally, all of these developments came after McCarthy rejected a proposal to form a bipartisan committee that would grant equal membership and subpoena power to Democrats and Republicans. After the committee’s proposal failed in the Senate due to Republican opposition (only six Republicans voted in favour), the House established a Democratic-controlled select committee.

McCarthy’s previous comments

Twice on Thursday, McCarthy tried to distance himself from his earlier comments about Trump and January 6th.

First, a reporter asked McCarthy if he would stand by a House speech he gave exactly a year ago on Thursday — in which the House debated impeachment of Trump for inciting rebellion — in which he said Trump “bears responsibility” for the January 6 attack. and “he should have condemned the mob on the spot when he saw what was going on.” McCarthy, who voted against the impeachment, responded Thursday: “My criticism was directed at everyone that day.” Then he turned to his usual question of why the Capitol was “unprepared” that day.
Later, when a reporter asked McCarthy if he had told “House Republicans on the January 11 phone call that President Trump told you he agreed to take some responsibility for January 6, as President Thompson’s letter indicates,” McCarthy replied, I’m not sure what call you’re talking about, so.”

facts first: It is not true that McCarthy criticized “everyone” in his speech a year ago. Trump was the only politician he singled out for criticism. (He also criticized the Capitol and impeachment rioters.) While there is some possibility that McCarthy was really confused about the phone call the reporter asked him about on Thursday — though, as the reporter noted, that call was mentioned in Thompson. Letter to him on Wednesday – There was already a private conference call on January 11, 2021 in which he told House Republicans that Trump had acknowledged taking “some responsibility” for what happened on January 6.

What McCarthy said to House Republicans on that call, according to a source who was on the call and kept a record of:

“Let me be clear to you, I’ve been very clear to the president. He takes responsibility for his words and actions. Not if, what, or but. I asked him in person today if he took responsibility for what happened, if he felt bad about what happened. He told me he had some responsibility. for what happened. But he needs to admit it.”

Benny Thompson’s comment

McCarthy criticized Pelosi for her supposed appointment as “chairman who starts the committee by saying that the only person out of bounds is the speaker.”

facts first: This is misleading. The committee’s chair, Democratic Representative Benny Thompson of Mississippi, did not say Pelosi was “the only person out of bounds” from the committee’s investigation. Instead, in July 2021, Thompson expressed doubts that Pelosi’s actions were relevant to the commission’s mandate to consider the facts and circumstances surrounding the Capitol attack. Thompson did not go so far as to state that Pelosi was outside the scope of the investigation, and certainly did not say that she was the only person who was off limits.

That’s what Thompson told CNN in July 2021. (McCarthy’s office says these are Thompson’s comments McCarthy referred to on Thursday.)
“Well, if you look at the charge we have in the decision, you will find the facts and the circumstances around January 6. I don’t see the speaker being an integral part of that. It’s a free country, and people can say whatever they want. Whether or not it has a place on this committee “.

“We haven’t seen him yet,” Thompson explained that he was not making any confirmed statements.

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