Trump defender Kevin McCarthy tells January 6th Committee that evidence 'does not belong to you'
House Minority Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy in an angry letter to Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) warned the Chairman of the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack that his role will end on January 3 and it is “imperative that all information collected be preserved.” The California Republican congressman had a dramatically different position on Donald Trump‘s unlawful retention of well over ten thousand items from the White House, including at least 300 documents with classified markings, including some classified at the highest levels.
McCarthy, who is running to be Speaker of the House but is facing strong opposition from some of the GOP caucus, nevertheless is acting as if he will wield the gavel.
His letter, angry and accusatory in tone, also strongly suggests Republicans will hold their own hearings on the January 6 attack on the Capitol and on democracy, but with a vastly different focus.
“The American people chose Republicans to lead the 118th Congress,” McCarthy’s letter begins. “On January 3, 2023, your work as Chairman of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol will come to an end,” McCarthy told Thompson in his letter, which was reported on by CBS News.
“For those reasons, I remind you and your staff on the Committee to preserve all records collected and transcripts of testimony taken during your investigation in accordance with House Rule VII. As the Chairman, regardless of who may be directing the work of the Committee, you are responsible for the work done by its members and staff.”
Some have suggested that Thompson could transfer some or all of the Committee’s work product – all transcripts and other evidence – to the Senate.
McCarthy continued with his angry attack.
“It is clear based on recent news reports that even your own members and staff of the Committee have no visibility into the totality of the investigation. Some reports suggest that entire swaths of findings will be left out of the Committee’s final report. You have spent a year and a half and millions of taxpayers’ dollars conducting this investigation.”
House Republicans, including McCarthy, spent million dollars on six Benghazi investigations, the last one of which McCarthy admitted was designed to harm former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential aspirations.
“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping,” McCarthy bragged in 2015.
Kevin McCarthy: Benghazi Committee Tanked Hillary's Poll Numbersyoutu.be
Unlike his defense of ex-president Donald Trump unlawfully removing and retaining at Mar-a-Lago approximately 13,000 items belonging to the National Archives from the White House, McCarthy warned Thompson the Committee’s work does not belong to the Chairman.
“It is imperative that all information collected be preserved not just for institutional prerogatives but for transparency to the American people,” McCarthy wrote. “The official Congressional Records do not belong to you or any member, but to the American people, and they are owed all of the information you gathered – not merely the information that comports with your political agenda.”
That’s actually false.
The Committee has undoubtedly uncovered government secrets, including national security information, classified information, and information, for example, the Secret Service needs to keep secret to allow it to continue to secure its protectees. It also has entered into agreements with witnesses that prevent it from releasing those documents, transcripts, and other evidence to the public.
Politico’s senior legal affairs reporter Kyle Cheney says, “Kevin McCarthy’s letter demanding that the Jan. 6 committee preserve its records is mostly nonsense because the committee is planning to release all but a few of its transcripts.”
McCarthy continued, warning: “Although your Committee’s public hearings did not focus on why the Capitol complex was not secure on January 6, 2021, the Republican majority in the 118th Congress will hold hearings that do so.”
He then served up what some might say is a threat.
“The American people have a right to know that the allegations you have made are supported by the facts and to be able to view the transcripts with an eye toward encouraged enforcement of 18 USC 1001.”
18 U.S. Code § 1001 is the federal statute that makes it a crime to knowingly make false statements.
McCarthy had a very different take when the U.S. Dept. of Justice executed a legal search warrant of Donald Trump’s Florida residence and resort, Mar-a-Lago, to retrieve government-owned materials, including classified documents.
“Joe Biden and the politicized Dept. of Justice launched a raid on the home of his top political rival, Donald Trump,” McCarthy said on Sept. 1. “That is an assault on democracy.”
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