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Top-ranking House Republican Kevin McCarthy turned down an invitation to speak with the select committee investigating the riot at the Capitol, calling it an “illegitimate” political operation.
The Republican minority leader issued the statement Wednesday night after the committee invited him to speak to the panel about a phone call he allegedly made to former President Donald Trump during the uprising, urging him to quell the violence. Days later, McCarthy said the former president “bears responsibility” for the riot.
The panel, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, also intended to ask McCarthy about his interactions with then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
McCarthy claimed the committee had lied about the content of documents it received and “held individuals in contempt of Congress for exercising their Constitutional right to avail
“And now it wants to interview me about public statements that have been shared with the world, and private conversations not remotely related to the violence that unfolded at the Capitol. I have nothing else to add,” McCarthy, 56, wrote.
The California Republican’s rebuke came after he expressed an openness to meeting with the committee last year, before accusing Pelosi and her caucus of not acting “in good faith” and “playing politics” by not admitting his choices for appointments to the panel.
“This committee is not conducting a legitimate investigation as Speaker Pelosi took the unprecedented action of rejecting the Republican members I named to serve on the committee. It is not serving any legislative purpose,” he wrote Wednesday.
The select committee chairman said last week that a formal invitation to ex-Vice President Mike Pence would be forthcoming, as members continue to investigate the violence that disrupted certification of the 2020 presidential election.
The Jan. 6 committee has requested or issued subpoenas to many key members of the former administration.
Steve Bannon was indicted by a federal grand jury in November for refusing to comply and the House voted to hold Meadows in contempt for ignoring a deposition in December.