Bennie Thompson, the Democratic Chairman of Mississippi, said that the panel will decide this week whether to issue a second request for McCarthy. McCarthy has not agreed to appear before it. Thompson stated that the committee will also consider summoning a larger number of House Republicans to interview McCarthy, given more details about their conversations with Trump White House during the build-up to the Capitol siege.
With newly released audio recordings of McCarthy's private remarks following the January 6th attack when supporters of then President Donald Trump stormed Capitol trying to stop certification of President Biden’s 2020 election win, the committee is racing to complete this phase of its work.
A Tuesday, January 10, 2021 audio recording was released by The New York Times. McCarthy informs fellow Republican leaders that Trump and his far-right allies at the House are "putting people into jeopardy" through their public tweets, comments, and other statements that could lead to violence against other lawmakers.
McCarthy singled out several conservative lawmakers, including Matt Gaetz from Florida and Mo Brooks from Alabama, for potentially posing a threat to the security of other legislators and the Capitol compound. Brooks addressed the rally on January 6 and encouraged the crowd to "fight as hell" before marching to the Capitol. There was some discussion about the possibility of disciplining Brooks. McCarthy has not indicated that he followed up on any disciplinary actions.
Gaetz attacked Republicans, including Liz Cheney from Wyoming, who had criticised Trump's actions.
According to the audio, McCarthy stated that McCarthy was "putting people in danger." McCarthy said, according to the new audio, "He's putting people in jeopardy." We were able to see what people would do at the Capitol. These people had rope and everything else.
Gaetz called McCarthy, Rep. Steve Scalise and Liz Cheney on Twitter. They said that Gaetz's actions were "potentially unlawful" and "weak men". "While I was protecting Donald Trump from impeachment," Gaetz tweeted late Tuesday.
Brooks denied the report and told the Times Tuesday that Kevin McCarthy spoke before he knew the facts. Brooks said that he doesn't recall McCarthy speaking directly with him about his rally speech.
The Times reported earlier that McCarthy had admitted to some responsibility in conversations with House Republicans.
The Times released audio recordings as part of its reporting for "This Will not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future."
Thompson stated at the Capitol that they will likely look into inviting some lawmakers to engage at this point.
McCarthy and Republican Reps. Jim Jordan from Ohio and Scott Perry from Pennsylvania were previously interviewed by the panel. These two Trump allies are central to the attempt to contest the 2020 presidential election results that Trump lost to Mr. Biden.
The committee declined to allow them to appear. However, it has not taken the dramatic step to issue subpoenas for the current members of Congress in order to force their testimony.
Thompson pointed out that McCarthy's earlier invitation was sent before the latest taped revelation. Thompson stated to reporters that McCarthy would most likely receive another invitation.
The panel is also expanding its reach to potentially larger groups of Republican lawmakers, who are now more well-known to have played a greater role in the unfolding of the riot.
Thompson stated, "We'll make an announcement on any other before the week ends."
Brooks, an ally of Trump who was part of a group that met in December 2020 at White House, suggested that he appear before the panel.
The panel is also looking at other House Republican legislators who are believed to have worked closely with Mark Meadows (Trump's former White House chief-of-staff) as they tried to challenge Biden’s win.
A few legislators were included in testimony that was released Friday as part a court filing. The testimony was made as part of the committee's request to access Meadows' text messages.
Thompson stated Tuesday that they will likely look into inviting some lawmakers to engage at this stage, and then we'll take it from there."
The panel is quickly working to launch public hearings. It hopes to start and finish them by June before issuing its initial report in fall.