Before he was obediently helping ex-President Donald Trump stonewall the House Jan. 6 Committee’s investigation into the Capitol insurrection, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was privately stressing the need for an investigation in the days after the attack.
On Wednesday night, New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns released new audio of one of McCarthy’s calls with fellow Republicans on Jan. 11 last year, during which the GOP leader declared that it was essential to get to the bottom of the insurrection.
“We cannot just sweep this under the rug. We need to know why it happened, who did it, and people need to be held accountable for it,” he said. “And I’m committed to making sure that happens.”
Cut to seven months later, when McCarthy (having already bashed the bipartisan proposal for a commission to investigate Jan. 6) tried to undermine the legitimacy of the House Jan. 6 Committee by purposefully choosing GOP members he knew House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) wouldn’t approve, giving him cover to 1) refuse to participate in the probe and 2) feed into Trump’s narrative that the investigation was a Democratic partisan attack.
That narrative imploded when GOP Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) joined the committee.
Now McCarthy refuses to cooperate with the committee’s subpoena.
In another newly released clip of the same Jan. 11 call, McCarthy described a phone conversation he had with Trump as the insurrection was unfolding.
“When they started breaking into my office, myself and the staff got removed from the office,” the GOP leader recounted. “In doing so, I made a phone call to the President telling him what was going on, asking him to tell these people to stop, to make a video and go out.”
McCarthy made sure his colleagues knew just how very serious and tough and unflinching he was with Trump.
“I was very intense and very loud about it,” he said.
And like those other tapes, these latest recordings exposed the astonishing extent to which McCarthy, with his eye on potentially becoming House speaker after the midterms, backpedaled on holding Trump accountable for the attack.
Listen to the tapes below:
Correction: This article previously stated the wrong day for when the Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns tapes were released. TPM regrets this error.