WASHINGTON - The US House panel investigating the Jan 6 Capitol riot on Wednesday asked House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy for a voluntary interview and records in his possession that are related to the attack.
The panel in a letter to the California Republican requested information about his communications with then-President Donald Trump "before, during and after" Jan 6, 2021, when a mob of Trump's supporters besieged the Capitol in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying the 2020 presidential election results.
It also wanted to learn about how McCarthy, the top Republican in the House, interacted with Trump, White House staff and others in the week after the riot, "particularly regarding President Trump's state of mind at that time", according to the letter the panel sent to McCarthy.
"We also must learn about how the President's plans for January 6th came together, and all the other ways he attempted to alter the results of the election. For example, in advance of January 6th, you reportedly explained to Mark Meadows and the former President that objections to the certification of the electoral votes on January 6th 'was doomed to fail,'" said Bennie Thompson, Democrat from Mississippi who chairs the Jan 6 panel.
Thompson said the committee wanted to meet with McCarthy as soon as Feb 3.
McCarthy is the third GOP member of the House with whom the committee has sought cooperation on a voluntary basis, after two similar requests were turned down by representatives Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Jim Jordan of Ohio.
Considered one of Trump's most loyal allies in Congress, McCarthy said during a floor speech in the House chamber seven days after the riot that Trump "bears responsibility" for the attack.
But his public statements regarding the events on Jan 6 "changed markedly" after he met with Trump at the former president's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida on Jan 28, 2021, the committee alleged in the letter, asking McCarthy if he had been pressured by Trump or his representatives on what he should say about his conversations with Trump on Jan 6.