Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Liz Cheney (R-WY) — who serve as the chair and vice chair of the Jan. 6 select committee, respectively — pushed back at House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) “baseless” claims of former President Trump being cleared of any involvement in the deadly Capitol insurrection.
In a joint statement on Saturday, Thompson and Cheney took aim at McCarthy’s recent statements that falsely suggest that Trump did not play a role in inciting the Capitol insurrection, despite Trump’s refusal to concede the presidential election.
“(McCarthy) has suggested, based on an anonymous report, that the Department of Justice has concluded that Donald Trump did not cause, incite, or provoke the violence on January 6th,” Thompson and Cheney said. “When this anonymous report was first published, the Select Committee queried the Executive Branch agencies and congressional committees involved in the investigation. We’ve received answers and briefings from the relevant entities, and it’s been made clear to us that reports of such a conclusion are baseless.”
Thompson and Cheney stressed that Trump has not been cleared of involvement in the events of Jan. 6.
“We will continue to pursue all elements of this investigation in a nonpartisan and thorough manner,” Thompson and Cheney said. “We also remind Minority Leader McCarthy of his statements following January 6th, including his statement from the House Floor on January 13th—which are inconsistent with his recent comments.”
Last week, McCarthy insisted that Trump had no involvement behind the Capitol insurrection in remarks to a local NBC affiliate in California.
“That’s where law enforcement comes. The FBI has investigated this. The Senate had bipartisan committees come back. And you know what they’ve found — that there’s no involvement. But this is purely political in how Nancy Pelosi has handled this,” McCarthy, a California Republican, said in the interview with KGET.
McCarthy’s remarks allude to a Reuters report last month that he and several other Republicans have latched onto that claims the FBI found “scant evidence” that an organized plot led to the Capitol insurrection. The report cites unnamed sources who reportedly have “been either directly involved in or briefed regularly on the wide-ranging investigations.”
Although McCarthy said initially said that Trump “bears responsibility” for the insurrection during a speech on the House floor a week after Jan. 6, he later walked back his remarks by insisting that Trump had no role in inciting the attack.