Watch CBS News

McCarthy says he won't cooperate with request to speak to January 6 committee

January 6 panel seeks interview with Kevin McCarthy
January 6 panel seeks interview with GOP leader Kevin McCarthy 00:46

The House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021 assault on the Capitol is asking House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to voluntarily provide information. But McCarthy said in a statement Wednesday night that he has "concluded to not participate with this select committee."

January 6 select committee chair Bennie Thompson and the committee are looking for information from the top Republican about the days leading up to January 6, as well as that day and days following. Thompson wants information about reports that McCarthy said that former President Trump acknowledged some culpability for the violence, and McCarthy's support of continued objections to electoral votes from multiple states. 

Thompson's letter to McCarthy cites an interview McCarthy gave to "CBS Evening News" anchor and managing editor Norah O'Donnell in the midst of the riot on January 6. O'Donnell asked if he had spoken with Trump, and McCarthy replied, "I've spoken to the president. I asked him to talk to the nation to tell them to stop this. This is not who we are."

Thompson said McCarthy has "acknowledged speaking directly with the former president while the violence was underway on January 6th. And you summarized your conclusions regarding President Trump's conduct on January 6th in a speech you made January 23th on the House floor: 'The president bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack on Congress by mob rioters.'"

McCarthy on Wednesday night insisted the committee is "not conducting a legitimate investigation" and it is "not serving any legislative purpose." "The committee's only objective is to attempt to damage its political opponents – acting like the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee one day and the DOJ the next," McCarthy said. 

Thompson had told reporters on Wednesday that he hoped McCarthy "will voluntarily come forward" after receiving the interview request from the panel and that McCarthy will "tell us why he made that statement" on the House floor. 

McCarthy is the highest-ranking GOP officeholder Thompson has requested information from, as the committee probes last year's riot. Thompson's request is only voluntary, and not a subpoena. Thompson requested to meet with McCarthy on February 3 or February 4. 

Capitol Riot Congress Investigation
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Meanwhile, Republican Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio has said he won't testify before the committee, following in the footsteps of Trump and other Republicans who have refused to acquiesce.  

Former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany met with the panel virtually Wednesday, Thompson told CBS News. Thompson told reporters on Wednesday afternoon that the committee's meeting scheduled for 5 p.m. may be delayed because the depositions are taking longer than expected.

The House select committee, created by Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier this year, is investigating the January 6 attack, when thousands of Trump supporters descended on the Capitol as Congress counted the electoral votes, a largely ceremonial final step affirming Mr. Biden's victory. Lawmakers were sent fleeing amid the riot, which led to the deaths of five people and the arrests of hundreds more. Trump, who encouraged his supporters to "walk over" to the Capitol during the Stop the Steal rally, was impeached by the House one week later for inciting the riot but was later acquitted by the Senate.

So far, the committee has subpoenaed more than 50 individuals, including Trump's allies, former White House officials, campaign aides and individuals involved in the planning of the rally outside the White House before the Capitol building came under siege. Two top Trump allies, former strategist Steve Bannon and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, have been held in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with subpoenas, and the Justice Department has charged Bannon. Both said they are following instructions from Trump, who has claimed executive privilege. 

Zak Hudak and Ellis Kim contributed to this report. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.