King of Spades: Former House Speaker McCarthy: Our Republic never figured into his calculations of political survival

 

whoever is the cause of someone becoming powerful is ruined

– Machiavelli, The Prince

 

 

 

California holds the key to GOP power in the House.

McCarthy’s retirement makes everything harder

 [Excerpt:]

With Kevin McCarthy heading for the exits, his Republican colleagues are bracing for a falloff in campaign support and loss of granular institutional knowledge that could leave them at a disadvantage heading into next fall’s elections.

The fight for control of the closely divided House will likely be decided in California, the ex-speaker’s home state. Five of the state’s 12 Republicans — Young Kim of Anaheim Hills, David Valadao of Hanford, Mike Garcia of Santa Clarita, Michelle Steel of Seal Beach and John Duarte of Modesto — hold districts President Biden won in 2020. A sixth Golden State Republican, Rep. Ken Calvert of Corona, also faces a competitive race.

But McCarthy’s announcement that he’ll leave Congress at the end of the year means the GOP will be without the man who convinced many of them to run for office in the first place — not to mention one of the most prolific fundraisers in party history. That complicates Republicans’ path to maintaining their historically narrow majority. His replacement, Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), is a neophyte at political leadership with a long history of hard-line social conservative stances that might not play well in the districts that will determine House control.

“It’s terrible. There’s nothing good about losing McCarthy,” Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) told The Times.

McCarthy’s greatest strength as a politician has been his political capability. He’s a campaign animal, more interested in and adept at recruiting candidates and raising money than crafting policy.

He played a key role in building out the House GOP’s super PAC efforts over the past decade-plus beginning in 2010, has deep ties to megadonors and K Street lobbyists, and his close relationships with swing-district lawmakers — many of whom he personally recruited to run for office — helped propel him to the speakership.

Now, he’s on the way out. And Johnson, his replacement, is learning on the fly what it means to be in charge of the party’s campaign efforts.

Rep. Garret Graves (R-La.), a close McCarthy ally, said he was worried about the steep learning curve his home-state colleague faces as he settles into the speakership, as well as the loss of connections and institutional knowledge that are leaving with McCarthy.

The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Kevin McCarthy

By Laurel Rosenhall

December 7, 2023

[Excerpt:]

California’s most prominent Republican called it quits this week, marking the end of an era for the man who crafted his entire political career around becoming House speaker, only to be tossed out in a historic vote after less than a year at the helm.

I’m talking about Rep. Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, of course.

McCarthy’s final fall was presaged by his rocky rise, coming to power as he did in January after 15 votes, and concessions that made him vulnerable to a small rebellious faction within the House Republican conference. Since he was ousted as speaker on Oct. 3, speculation has swirled over whether he would remain in Congress.

The answer became clear Wednesday when McCarthy announced his resignation in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, saying he plans “to serve America in new ways.”

McCarthy said he will step down by the end of the year, setting off the question of who will run to replace him in the heavily Republican congressional district that spans from Bakersfield to Fresno along the southern Sierra Nevada foothills.

 

McCarthy Locks Arms With Freedom Caucus To Jump Off Cliff

TPM Morning Memo

Sept. 21, 2023

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/morning-memo

It appears that Speaker McCarthy has decided to push ahead with a continuing resolution that only right-wingers could love. It sets up the possibility of rare Friday and Saturday votes in the House, but more importantly it puts the House in direct conflict with the Senate and White House with no obvious path forward for how to fun the government past the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30.

To reiterate, this proposed CR is a grab bag of draconian spending cuts and pet messaging vehicles, a Freedom Caucus wish list, if you will. It’s not even clear it will pass the House, let alone go anywhere after that.

Meanwhile, Democrats are reveling in the GOP chaos.

Kevin McCarthy turns impeachment into political score-settling

The House speaker directed an impeachment inquiry into President Biden based on “allegations,” making the process a debasement of what was intended to be a constitutional vehicle to remove a president for malfeasance

 

Jim Jordan: Impeachment inquiry ‘looking more and more likely’

https://thehill.com/homenews/house/jim-jordan-impeachment-inquiry-looking-more-and-more-likely

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said Tuesday that chances of an impeachment inquiry into President Biden and his family are “looking more and more likely.”

“I do think it’s looking more and more likely that we move to what’s … called an impeachment inquiry phase of our Oversight investigations relative to the Bidens, and frankly the [Department of Justice],” Jordan, also a House Oversight Committee member, said on “Fox Across America with Jimmy Failla.” 

On Sunday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures” that an impeachment inquiry is a “natural step forward” after House Republican-led investigations into Biden and his family, which McCarthy and other GOP leaders claim reveal improper foreign dealings.

“So, if you look at all the information we have been able to gather so far, it is a natural step forward that you would have to go to an impeachment inquiry,” McCarthy said.

House Minority Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) criticized Republicans for their recent consideration of an impeachment inquiry Tuesday morning on CNN, arguing they were merely following orders from former President Donald Trump.

“They have nothing to show for their majority throughout the year,” Jeffries said on CNN. “And so, as a natural consequence of that, they just continue to take orders from Donald Trump, their puppet master in chief, who has directed them to persecute and to go after Joe Biden, which may take the form of an illegitimate impeachment inquiry.”

 

The Kevin McCarthy Mess Is Peak Trumpism

The GOP’s failure to get the 118th Congress going shows how the performative nature of today’s Trumpified party is making it incapable of governing. 

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2023/01/kevin-mccarthy-speaker-vote-gop-trumpism

 

House GOP flirts with Jan. 6 extremism

By JORDAIN CARNEY and KYLE CHENEY

Updated: 06/18/2023 

https://www.politico.com/news/2023/06/18/house-gop-jan-6-extremism-00101259

Far-right conservatives have entertained false conspiracy theories about the Capitol attack — but so have some House GOP leaders and key committee chiefs, without outright embracing them.

House Republicans don’t want to talk about Jan. 6. They also can’t stop talking about it.

At times, GOP lawmakers insist they’re uninterested in relitigating an attack that is political poison for the party outside of deep-red areas. But at other times, some Republicans have stoked narratives that falsely pin blame for the attack on police, Democrats or far-left agitators — or downplay the violence at the Capitol. The latter approach has seen a noticeable uptick of late.

And it’s not just far-right conservatives who fall in that group — some House GOP leaders and key committee chiefs have shown they’re willing to flirt with the fringe without an outright embrace. Speaker Kevin McCarthy has shared security video of that day with far-right media figures who have minimized or fed inaccurate portrayals of the attack.

Yet they’re also batting down some of those same false conspiracy theories and preparing to focus on at least one area of bipartisan concern: Capitol security vulnerabilities, many of which remain unresolved since the attack. Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), who faced scrutiny from the Jan. 6 select committee for a Capitol complex tour he gave on Jan. 5, 2021, is warning allies against automatically accepting certain claims.

“You wouldn’t believe how many experts there are out there on Jan. 6, who know exactly what happened because they read it on the internet,” said Loudermilk, who is leading the GOP’s look back at the attack and at the Democratic-led Jan. 6 panel.

Loudermilk’s comments underscore House Republicans’ reality. While most admit privately, if not publicly, that Jan. 6 was the work of a violent mob, they have a political calculus to consider: A not-insignificant faction of their party is hellbent on rewriting the history of the day.

Hanging over it all is former President Donald Trump’s vociferous defense of the rioters and continued false claims that he won the 2020 election. Federal and Georgia prosecutors are investigating his efforts to subvert the election and could bring charges later this year.

Trump is uninterested in making the balance any easier on Republicans: His pledge to pardon a large number of Jan. 6 defendants is a feature of his commentary on the campaign trail, where he remains the frontrunner for the party’s 2024 nomination.

Still, House Republicans aren’t fully playing to Trump. For now, they’re giving Jan. 6 a side hug more than a bear hug.

McCarthy encapsulates the half-hearted embrace. He angered some allies on the right this year by defending a Capitol Police officer’s decision to shoot a Jan. 6 rioter who was attempting to breach a room adjacent to the House chamber. But he’s also provided exclusive access to thousands of hours of security footage to former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who’s used the film to demean and distort police officers’ actions.

“Speaker McCarthy promised that House Republicans would investigate the security failures of that day and provide transparency to the American people. Former Speaker Pelosi and her Select Committee set one bad precedent after another — including releasing select clips for partisan purposes,” a McCarthy spokesperson said in a statement that did not address conference dynamics around Jan. 6.

“For two years, we heard no concerns when footage was used by Democrats, the media, and Pelosi’s daughter for her HBO documentary,” the McCarthy spokesperson added, declining to be identified by name and referring to Nancy Pelosi’s daughter filming her mother and other party leaders on Jan. 6.

Some of McCarthy’s most trusted committee chairs have taken a similar approach to the California Republican, eschewing the most extreme efforts demanded by the far-right flank but still winking at some of their concerns.

For example, no committees have pursued baseless claims that Ray Epps, who rioted on Jan. 6, was acting as an undercover government agent. And GOP leaders have sidestepped a far-right fervor to subpoena and probe Jan. 6 select panel members, to scrutinize distorted allegations about Pelosi’s handling of Capitol security or to dig into judges’ treatment of the 1,000-plus criminal cases stemming from the attack.

Notably, no committee chairs or party leaders participated in the biggest platform House Republicans have given Jan. 6 defendants so far: Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), joined by a handful of others from the conference’s right flank, hosted an event last week with former Trump acting assistant attorney general Jeffrey Clark, people charged in relation to Jan. 6, defendants’ family members and allies.

The event featured a veritable kitchen sink of conspiracy theories as well as rehashed false claims, including that the 2020 election was “stolen” and that the Jan. 6 committee “doctored” video.

But Jan. 6 defendants, their advocates and some GOP lawmakers have called for Republicans to push further.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) said that probing the Justice Department’s handling of Jan. 6 prosecutions should be one of the “top priorities” for a Judiciary sub-panel tasked with investigating GOP claims of bias against conservatives within the federal government.

She introduced impeachment articles against the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia who has taken the lead on prosecuting members of the mob. Meanwhile, Gaetz introduced a resolution to censure Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), who led the now-closed riot select committee. Both efforts have a single-digit number of cosponsors at the moment.

Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) did recently release a wider report that accused the FBI of artificially conflating the number of Jan. 6-related investigations. The report and a subsequent hearing also included testimony from whistleblowers who lost their security clearances due to improper actions related to Jan. 6.

One of the whistleblowers, Steve Friend, and several Freedom Caucus members were invited to speak at a retreat hosted by the conservative Center for Renewing America, where Friend is a senior fellow, shortly before the hearing, according to research by the progressive group Accountable.US that was provided exclusively to POLITICO and confirmed via House disclosure forms.

Jordan also fired off new Jan. 6-related letters, one asking for more information on the FBI’s investigation into pipe bombs found near the Capitol the day of the attack and another expanding a probe into record-sharing with federal investigators.

But those efforts make up a small slice of his collective, sweeping investigations.

The Oversight Committee organized a tour of the D.C. jail to investigate two-year-old claims of “disparate treatment” of the approximately two dozen Jan. 6-related detainees — nearly all of whom were incarcerated or detained for violence against police. But Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) didn’t attend the tour, which was led by panel member Greene.

Democrats who attended said that GOP lawmakers and the detained rioters treated each other as allies and friends.

Some members of the Oversight panel recently raised Jan. 6 during a hearing with testimony from Graves and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser — but the session was billed as about broader crime and governance issues.

There’s a reason behind the conference’s actions to sidestep those issues: A broad swath of House Republicans see spotlighting Jan. 6-related investigations as a terrible political strategy.

Loudermilk has largely conducted the GOP’s most focused dive into Jan. 6 so far. He received a copy of the Capitol Police’s radio transmissions from the day and met privately with former law enforcement officials to discuss security failures. Loudermilk’s sub-panel, according to the McCarthy spokesperson, will also soon be rolling out “additional access” to view Capitol security footage.

Still, Loudermilk set off alarm bells among Democrats when he pushed the D.C. police to disclose how many undercover officers were in the crowd during the attack. The letter dovetails with, but did not specifically mention, claims by some Jan. 6 defendants that plainclothes agents or the government itself might have fomented the riot.

But Loudermilk says he won’t lend his subcommittee’s imprimatur to some of the most egregious false claims.

“We want to just follow the facts, not hyperbole or some kind of conspiracy theory, so our interest is just: What is the truth?” he said.

[Boldface added]

 

The GOP Is the Party of ‘Fuck You’.     

It was once a political party, now it’s a nihilistic, corrupt, fake populist scam.

David Rothkopf

Updated May. 12, 2023 / Published May. 12, 2023 

https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-gop-is-the-party-of-fk-you?

[Excerpts:]

The Republican Party has become the party of “Fuck you.” “Fuck you” is the motivation of its alienated voters. It is its legislative strategy. It is its views toward the laws and Constitution of the United States. It is its reaction to morality and values. It is its foreign policy mantra with our allies. “Fuck you” is even its message to the historians of the future.

Sadly, we live in an age in which the political discourse of the United States results in every idea floated by Democrats, independents, and even the elusive “reasonable Republicans,” in which every constructive thought floated about the direction our country should take, or how we should behave, or why the law matters is met by a chorus of Republican leaders with their signature “Fuck you.”

As a New Jerseyite, I worry they will discredit the term so much that we will have to find another way to express ourselves. My concern is due to the fact that the MAGA-ized GOP has only gotten more outrageous… which is to say more committed to the politics of outrage, to obliterating norms of decency, as the signature activities to which they devote themselves.

They do it because their base is angry. They do it because it drives social media wild. They do it because they have no ideas and their leaders are profoundly immoral, disgusting people.

We have seen multiple examples of the politics of “Fuck you” this week. We have seen Donald Trump, the leader of the party, the high priest of “Fuck you-ism,” the commander-in-chief of the “Fuck your feelings” army, in a video-taped deposition saying, essentially, “Fuck you” to E. Jean Carroll’s lawyer. We heard him say “Fuck you” to anyone who may have thought sexual abuse was wrong when he doubled down on his famous pussy-grabbing brag, arguing that “stars” like him have been “fortunate” to be able to grab pussies for the past “million years” or so.

Then, when an undoubtedly disgusted jury found Trump liable for sexual assault and defamation in record time, he immediately said “Fuck you” to the American system of justice and to his own hometown in a series of social media posts that soon may be fodder for the next set of defamation suits against him.

He followed that up with a televised Trump rally that was carried on CNN in which he repeated some of his greatest “Fuck yous” to America of the past seven years. He doubled down on the Big Lie. He called Vladimir Putin a smart guy. He refused to condemn Putin as a war criminal. He equated Russia and Ukraine’s role in the former’s invasion of the latter. He promised to pardon Jan. 6 insurrectionists. He said he had a right to the classified government documents he stole. He said the GOP was right to threaten debt default, which he said might have no effect at all. He gloated about his role in making the Dobbs decision happen. And he once again defamed E Jean Carroll. It was a tour de force of what might be called the art of “Fuck you,” complete with an audience of fawning MAGA zombies and a big old “Get fucked” to fact-checkers in the form of his usual tsunami of lies.

While some leaders in the GOP actually had the decency to condemn Trump’s vileness at the conclusion of the Carroll trial, they were very much in the minority. Most GOP lawmakers offered their party’s patented silent “Fuck you” by refusing to say a bad word about their party’s leader after a jury’s verdict that he was a sex abuser. But some went further. Some said “Fuck you” to New York and the nine average Americans who did their duty on the jury (and in so doing offered a “Fuck you” to the entire American system of justice).

Some members of the F.U. Party were not content to merely demonstrate their contempt for our system of law or any modicum of respect for women. Some, like Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville, actually said things like the Carroll verdict “makes me want to vote for him twice.”

Tuberville, now vying for Ted Cruz’s crown as the most despicable member of the Senate GOP contingent is emerging as a poster boy for the Fuck you-ist movement on the right. He was off to a good start, of course, when he ran for the Senate despite having zero political or public service background, coming to the post from his prior role as the coach of the Auburn University football team. But having arrived in the Senate unencumbered by any sense of shame due to his off-the-charts ignorance, he has zeroed-in on the most Fuck you-iest possible positions and statements. Most recently, this has involved telling U.S. national security and our military leaders to go take a flying fuck by blocking the promotion of over nearly 200 officers for over two months (so far) as a way of making a point regarding his troglodyte, profoundly anti-woman views on abortion. Then, with a flourish that will have Fuck you-ologists studying his work for years, when asked about efforts to keep white nationalists out of the military he responded, “Well, they call them that. I call them Americans.”

After Trump, the most senior member of the GOP, is of course, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. He, too, has demonstrated where “Fuck your feelings, fuck your Constitution, fuck the world economy, fuck every American” gets you as a policy position by threatening to trigger a U.S. default on its debt for the first time in history.

He does this despite the GOP having held the view that paying the debt was sacrosanct under Trump (as it was for decades previous), and despite having voted for the big GOP measures that have contributed to America’s deficit. Oh, and the “plan” for cutting the deficit he proposes is not only completely unrealistic, it would be a big “Fuck you” to tens of thousands of Americans—like the 81,000 people at the Veterans Administration whose jobs he would put at risk or the hundreds of thousands of veterans they serve.

But what are tens or hundreds of thousands of jobs when the default you are flirting with would trigger a global recession, gut America’s standing on the world stage and possibly put as many as eight million Americans out of work?

“They do it because their base is angry. They do it because it drives social media wild. They do it because they have no ideas and their leaders are profoundly immoral, disgusting people.”

Doing his best Tony Soprano imitation—in response to criticisms of the risks he is undertaking or observations that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution prohibits such behavior—McCarthy’s response is, “Fuck me? No, fuck you!” (And he would add, to the voters of New York who were defrauded into voting for the pathological and now indicted fabulist Rep. George Santos, he adds a big “Fuck you, too, I’m going to keep him around as long as I need his vote!”)

When did all this Fuck-you-osity begin to happen? When did the last drops of decency or respect for our system or our people get sucked out of the leaders of the current GOP? It’s hard to say. Contempt for anyone but the donor class has been a clear theme among party leaders since the Reagan years. The message of contempt for our system and values was amplified further by the party’s decision to elevate a series of contemptible leaders in the Congress like convicted sex abuser and former Speaker Denny Hastert, ethically challenged former Speaker Newt Gingrich, or scandal-plagued GOP whip Tom Delay. Certainly, it was not helped by the George W. Bush administration’s chest-thumping about its embrace of torturing our enemies or slaughtering innocents in an illegal war.

But the real golden age of “Fuck you” politics was ushered in by the election of Donald Trump as president in 2016.

After all, by the time he was elected, the world had already seen and heard the Access Hollywood tape; they knew Trump had been accused of sex crimes by dozens of women; they knew of his shady business past; they knew he had reached out to our Russian enemies for help; they knew he was a racist; they knew he had no public service experience; they knew he was as despicable a human being as ever sought public office in the U.S.

They knew all that and their response was to elect him precisely because he sent a message of “Fuck you” to America.

Amazingly, of course, the reason so many Republicans wanted to tell the rest of the country to get fucked was because, of course, they had been fucked over by the system promoted, manned, defended, and advanced by the leaders of their own party and the donors that backed them. The fuckees elected the fuckers because they were tired of getting fucked by them.

What irony. What a scam. What a beauteous way for the GOP fat cats to cackle to each other over brandy and cigars about how well and truly they had fucked everyone but themselves.

 

Kevin McCarthy Met a Putin-Loving Supporter of Neo-Nazi Groups

Excerpts:Fontana is a member of Lega (the League), Italy’s very far-right party that formed a coalition with Meloni’s Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy) last year to win the fall election. While it’s understandable that an American Republican might see conservative groups abroad as fundamentally similar to the GOP, Lega is simply not comparable to the Republican party. If it were operating in the United States, Lega would represent just a sliver of the larger GOP, a faction to the right of the Freedom Caucus whose median member would be someone like Paul Gosar, and whose still-further-right wing might be represented by someone like Richard Spencer.Here are some highlights from Fontana’s career:

  • He has embraced Golden Dawn, a Greek political party and neo-nazi group.
  • He called Vladimir Putin “a light for us Westerners, who live in a great crisis of values.”
  • During the 2014 Russian invasion of Crimea, he wore a “no to Russian sanctions” shirt. He was later invited to participate as an “election observer” in Crimea as part of Russia’s propaganda campaign justifying the invasion.
  • As the Minister for Families, Fontana fought to restrict adoption and surrogacy for gay couples. He has also said same-sex parents “don’t exist.”

Vetting problems seem to be increasingly common for conservative lawmakers; many members of the House Republican Conference have been burned for posing with Proud Boys who were later convicted of sedition, unabashed white supremacists, and more. Of course, it’s possible that these problems might arise from more than simple negligence. Former Rep. Devin Nunes and some of Trump’s children are slated to share a stage with Hitler-praising internet personalities this coming weekend at Trump National Doral resort in Miami. It’s hard to take care to avoid associating with the hateful conspiratorial fringe if you just don’t care that much about it in the first place.But the highest-ranking elected Republican currently in office should know better and do better, especially considering that during the same trip abroad, he showed that he won’t always take the far-right bait.

The Most Disturbing Part of Trump’s Latest Rant

The former president is warning of “death & destruction” if he’s indicted.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/03/trumps-threats-death-and-destruction-if-indicted/673508/

[Excerpt:]

By now, no one will seriously wonder whether this kind of threat is too much for other Republican leaders to bear. Everyone knows the answer is no. When Trump previously predicted he would be arrested earlier this week and called for protests, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy demurred. “I don’t think people should protest this, no,” he said. “We want calmness out there.” Yet McCarthy also said, “He’s not talking in a harmful way, and nobody should.” GOP leaders have repeatedly found ways, however implausible, to look past Trump’s abuses.

 

TPM Morning Memo

February 20, 2023

Kevin McCarthy’s Secret Pact With Tucker Carlson

Just days after legal filings confirmed (as if we needed it) the corrupt core of the Fox News apparatus, we learned that the speaker of the House is giving special access to the Capitol’s security footage from Jan. 6 to none other than Tucker Carlson. The new but not surprising revelation came from Axios’ Mike Allen.

Twitter avatar for @toddzwillich

Todd Zwillich @toddzwillich
Extraordinary by any standard. McCarthy: -begged Trump to call off 1/6 rioters -told members Trump should resign, then -flew to MAL to rehab Trump -threatened cos that cooperate w 1/6 panel -reused to honor subpoena —>now using Carleson to erase the coup attempt & insurrection

Twitter avatar for @mikeallen

Mike Allen @mikeallen

NEW in @axios AM: @SpeakerMcCarthy has given @TuckerCarlson exclusive access to 41,000 hours of Capitol surveillance footage from 1/6 Carlson producers were on Capitol Hill last week to begin digging through the trove Excerpts begin in coming weeks https://t.co/cJmD6MGsWE

3:05 PM ∙ Feb 20, 2023


Jan. 6 committee chair Bernie Thompson was having none of it:

Patricia Zengerle @ReutersZengerle
Statement from Rep. Bennie Thompson, who chaired the Jan6 committee, on @axios report @SpeakerMcCarthy is giving special access to Jan 6 videos to Fox host.
Image

11:14 PM ∙ Feb 20, 2023

Succinct headline: KEVIN MCCARTHY MAKES SENSITIVE SECURITY FOOTAGE AVAILABLE TO THE INSURRECTIONISTS’ PROPAGANDIST

 

 

Morning Shots with Charlie  Sykes

January 9, 2023

[Excerpts:]

In the last several weeks, Donald Trump (1) expressed solidarity with the January 6 insurrectionists, (2) dined with a Neo-Nazi, (3) flung racial slurs at the wife of the senate GOP Leader, and (4) called for the termination of the Constitution so that he could be restored to power.

And, yet within minutes of being elected to the third highest Constitutional office in the land — in the early morning hours after the second anniversary of the attack on the Capitol — this is what My Kevin had to say:

McCarthy: “I do want to especially thank Pres Trump. I don’t think anyone should doubt his influence. He was with me from the beginning. He was all in. What he’s really saying for the party and the country is we have to come together.”

 

“House Republicans pass ethics changes that Democrats say would hamper probes”

WaPo:

The House on Monday passed a rules package that included changes to how ethics-related complaints about members of Congress are handled.

According to a summary of the GOP’s proposed rules changes released last week, the package imposes term limits of eight years for the eight board members of the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), an independent body established in 2008 that investigates complaints about sitting members of Congress. Any board members who have exceeded those term limits would be removed.

The rules package also requires the OCE board to appoint staff within 30 calendar days, and that the hiring and compensation of those staff members would need to be approved by at least four board members.

Democrats and liberal groups decried the proposed changes, saying they would hobble the way the OCE functions.

This is a very smart way to do it,” Kedric Payne of the Campaign Legal Center, a former OCE deputy chief counsel, told Time last week. “Because it looks as though the office still lives, but in fact it doesn’t.”

Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist with the liberal think tank Public Citizen, criticized the first provision as a way for Republicans to remove long-standing Democrats from the OCE board.

The second is to make it difficult for OCE to staff its office,” Holman said in a statement. “These are measures that will render the ethics office ineffectual and which no Member, from either party, should support.

Aaron Scherb, senior director of legislative affairs at the nonpartisan watchdog Common Cause, said Monday the changes would “handcuff” and “significantly weaken” the OCE.

“After showing America how not to pick a Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy and his team are now showing America how not to design the Rules of the House,” Rep. Jamie Raskin said in a statement Monday that panned the rules package, including the components that he said would “undercut” the independent ethics office.

How Far Right Are the 20 Republicans Who Voted Against McCarthy?

The Republicans who voted against the bid by Representative Kevin McCarthy of California for House speaker include some of the chamber’s most hard-right lawmakers. Most denied the 2020 election, are members of the ultraconservative Freedom Caucus, or both. Here’s a closer look at the 20 lawmakers.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2023/01/04/us/politics/house-speaker-republicans-vote-against-mccarthy.html

 

“McCarthy Proposes Gutting Office of Congressional Ethics in Bid for Speaker”

Time:

[Note: Unsurprisingly, McCarthy proposes to gut the very Congressional committee to which the Jan. 6 Committee referred Leader McCarthy and Representatives Jordan, Perry and Biggs for sanction by the House Ethics Committee for failure to comply with subpoenas and stated that these individuals, along with other Members who attended the December 21 planning meeting with President Trump at the White House, should be questioned in a public forum about their advance knowledge of and role in President Trump’s plan to prevent the peaceful transition of power.]

 

Kinzinger blames McCarthy for Trump ‘factor,’ ‘crazy elements’ in Congress

https://thehill.com/homenews/sunday-talk-shows/3794822
[Excerpt:]
Kinzinger said McCarthy had an opportunity to tell “the truth” to the American people as a leader in Congress, but he instead went to Mar-a-Lago a few weeks after the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection and “resurrected” Trump’s relevance in politics.“He is the reason Donald Trump is still a factor,” Kinzinger said. “He is the reason that some of the crazy elements of the House still exist.”McCarthy reportedly begged Trump to call off the rioters during the Capitol attack, and audio from a phone call McCarthy made revealed that he criticized Trump in the aftermath the insurrection. But he soon after increased his ties to the former president, as did much of the Republican Party.Kinzinger said he believes Trump would have been pushed out as leader of the GOP if McCarthy did not travel to Mar-a-Lago, adding that Congress removing Trump from office following his impeachment over his role in the riot would have been “huge.” He said Trump not being removed from office is on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other Senate Republicans who failed to convict Trump following the House’s second impeachment of him.But Kinzinger said the “second” that McCarthy went to Mar-a-Lago, the GOP went from not knowing what it was going to do about Trump to “begrudgingly” defending him.

Final Report of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol

Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union and ordered to be printed.

December 22, 2022.

https://www.govinfo.gov/collection/january-6th-committee-final-report?path=/gpo/January%206th%20Committee%20Final%20Report%20and%20Supporting%20Materials%20Collection/Final%20Report/GPO-J6-REPORT

[Excerpt:]

For these reasons, the Select Committee refers Leader McCarthy and Representatives Jordan, Perry and Biggs for sanction by the House Ethics Committee for failure to comply with subpoenas.  The Committee also believes that each of these individuals, along with other Members who attended the December 21 planning meeting with President Trump at the White House, should be questioned in a public forum about their advance knowledge of and role in President Trump’s plan to prevent the peaceful transition of power. [Boldface added]

Kevin McCarthy Lies That Trump Disavowed White Nationalist Dinner Guest

GOP leaders are going to great lengths to avoid criticizing the former president for dining with virulent white nationalist Nick Fuentes

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/kevin-mccarthy-lies-trump-condemning-nick-fuentes-1234638250/

 

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson

November 16, 2022

The media has now projected that the Republicans will take control of the House, where Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is also facing a challenge from the far right as he is seeking to become House speaker. Unlike Republican Senate leadership, though, the House speaker is elected by the full House.

Yesterday the House Republican conference nominated McCarthy for speaker, over far-right MAGA Republican Andy Biggs (R-AZ). Biggs got 31 votes to McCarthy’s 188, suggesting that the far-right “Freedom Caucus” can command only 31 votes.

McCarthy has courted the far right by promising to strip Democrats of power, kicking Representatives Eric Swalwell (D-CA) and Adam Schiff (D-CA) off the House Intelligence Committee, for example. Still, he needs 218 votes to become speaker, and MAGA Republican Matt Gaetz (R-FL) told CNN that McCarthy does not have the votes. 

The election of a House speaker can be a way for different factions to test out their power at the beginning of a session. If McCarthy can’t muster the necessary votes, the speakership could open to a far more moderate Republican who could get Democratic votes. That shift might, in fact, look good to a number of Republicans who see how thoroughly voters in some areas rejected extremism in the midterms. Or the need for more moderate votes could swing McCarthy away from the MAGA crowd. It’s not clear yet, but it might tell us a lot. In 1856, at a time when party alignments were shifting markedly, it took the House two months and 133 ballots finally to choose Representative Nathaniel Banks of Massachusetts, and by then, everyone knew exactly who backed whom.

 

Kevin McCarthy’s Bid to be House Speaker is in Jeopardy

By , and

Nov. 10, 2022

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/kevin-mccarthys-bid-house-speaker-jeopardy-rcna56647?

[Excerpts:]

“No one currently has 218” votes, said Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, as he emerged from a private Freedom Caucus meeting near the Capitol where members were discussing their strategy. Roy previously told NBC News he has not decided who he is backing for speaker.

“I have personally stated that Kevin McCarthy has not done anything to earn my vote,” added another Freedom Caucus member, Rep. Bob Good, R-Va.

“Kevin McCarthy’s speakership is in deep trouble. Members will have to go home and explain to constituents why they are voting for a leader who is not committed to waging war against a woke and weaponized government,” said Vought, now president of the conservative Center for Renewing America. “We need a wartime leader who eats confrontation with his adversaries for breakfast and is committed to an America First agenda.

“Saving the country requires nothing less.”

[Note: See the following article, which sees this as the reality of the modern Freedom Caucus, . . . the hard-line group . . . now less formally conservative than a vehicle for Trumpism”.

 

MCCARTHY’S MATH

Politico

Oct. 7, 2022

https://www.politico.com/newsletters/politico-nightly/2022/10/06/misunderstanding-kevin-mccarthy

— He hasn’t claimed the speaker’s gavel yet, but House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy is already yoked to two brutal political narratives. They’re both prematurely baked — and they’re distracting his critics from what’s really at stake in the next Congress.

The first premature assumption about McCarthy is that he’s somehow not savvy enough to lead the House GOP if it wins the majority in November. Demeaning his erudition is a popular pursuit in Washington (practiced by Speaker Nancy Pelosi herself), as if book-smarts have ever been a must-flaunt accessory in the party of college C-student Ronald Reagan.  

Yet even beyond that portrait of McCarthy as an intellectual lightweight, critics say he’s failed in his own efforts to clear his conference of conservative gadflies who could prove ungovernable in a future majority. A recent Bulwark column made a compelling case that McCarthy’s been ineffective at evicting “the looniest of the loonies in the party” from his ranks.

But like it or not — and his critics don’t have to — McCarthy’s never styled himself as an arbiter of responsible conservatism, out to smooth out the Trumpiest elements of the GOP. And he’s rarely hinted that he finds the more bumptious members on his right flank to be real problems, aside from ousted Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.).

Part of that may stem from the reality of the modern Freedom Caucus, as POLITICO’s Olivia Beavers has catalogued : The hard-line group is now less formally conservative than a vehicle for Trumpism, and its members are increasingly less unified around the set of policy goals that sparked their loudest pushback against McCarthy’s predecessors.

The Freedom Caucus’ most influential member, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), is now a McCarthy ally about to take the Judiciary Committee gavel. Its members aren’t even planning right now to back a formal challenger to McCarthy in next year’s speaker vote.

So when McCarthy goes about picking horses in GOP primaries, he’s not trying to dislodge all problematic conservatives from his conference at all — he’s trying to lock in the majority he needs on the floor next year to claim the House’s top gavel.

And on that score, he’s doing pretty well. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), perhaps the most divisive member of his conference, lauded McCarthy’s “Commitment to America” agenda before it even came out.

Which brings up the second premature narrative about McCarthy: that he’s so beholden to former president Donald Trump and the right, his leadership of the House is bound to implode and toxify the GOP among independents the party will need come 2024. That may very well prove true. But there’s a lot more of this current election cycle to play out before we know the answer.

What’s more, the answer may depend on the size of McCarthy’s majority itself after Election Day. We already know that the more seats he has to work with, the easier he can breathe in the speakership race. The same thing is true of every tough vote he’ll have to ask his conference to take in the 118th Congress (not that we’re here to bore you with more prognostication on that).

Instead, it’s time to close on what’s really at stake: McCarthy’s treatment of Trump himself as the former president nears an all-but-certain third White House run. Ever since the Californian edged away from Trump in the wake of last year’s Capitol siege — only to meet him in Mar-a-Lago days later — the possibility of a radioactive bargain has loomed for McCarthy.

The more he hugs Trump to keep the former president’s base onside, the more tightly McCarthy will be tied to Trump’s legal travails, chaotic persona and support for Jan. 6 rioters — to the detriment of potential alternative GOP presidential contenders like Govs. Ron DeSantis (Fla.) and Glenn Youngkin (Va.). In order to gain steam in a 2024 primary, DeSantis and Youngkin will want top congressional Republicans to avoid falling in line immediately with the former president.

So let’s keep an eye on McCarthy’s reaction the day Trump announces his run. When we asked months ago if he’d endorse Trump above all others, McCarthy “chuckled at the question, then said, ‘I’m focused on this election.’”

[Boldface added]

How Kevin McCarthy’s political machine worked to sway the GOP field

Allies spent millions in a sometimes secretive effort to weed out candidates who could cause the House leader trouble or jeopardize GOP victories in November

McCarthy has a reputation for caring about politics over policy, but ultimately his fate may lie in the hands of one person: Trump. If Republicans win a small majority in the House, Trump could likely influence enough votes to determine the speakership, GOP strategists say. It’s a major reason McCarthy allies say he has remained close to Trump even when he has grown frustrated with him.

McCarthy says he does not recall Jan. 6 Cassidy Hutchinson call on Trump going to Capitol

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said that he did not remember talking to former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson on Jan. 6, 2021, about the prospect of former President Trump going to the Capitol that day as Congress certified the 2020 Electoral College results.

“I don’t recall talking to her that day,” McCarthy said in a press conference Friday. He added that he did recall talking to former White House deputy chief of staff Dan Savino, and Trump’s son-in-law and former White House adviser Jared Kushner, as well as Trump himself, on Jan. 6 as the Capitol attack was underway and he and his staff were removed from his office.

“If I talked to her, I don’t remember it. If it was coming up here, I don’t think I wanted a lot of people coming up to the Capitol. But I don’t remember the conversation,” McCarthy said.

Hutchinson, who was an aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testified under oath in a House Jan. 6 select committee hearing last month that McCarthy angrily called her after Trump urged supporters to march to the Capitol in his speech at the Ellipse and that he would go with them.

“He then explained, ‘The president just said he’s marching to the Capitol. You told me this whole week you aren’t coming up here, why would you lie to me?’” Hutchinson recalled during the hearing.

McCarthy said in his press conference Friday that he did not remember being specifically concerned about Trump marching to the Capitol.

“I didn’t watch it, so this is what is so confusing,” McCarthy said about Trump’s speech at the Ellipse. “I didn’t watch the speech. I was working. So I didn’t see what was said, I didn’t see what went on, until after the fact.”

“I had no idea he would come to the Capitol. I had no idea that he was even going to come to the Capitol,” McCarthy said.

Jan. 6 Select Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) suggested that the committee could look at phone records to verify if the call to Hutchinson was made.

“I think phone records and other things can be helpful in seeing whether or not calls were made. And there might be an opportunity for us to look at phone records, if we can, to see whether or not the call was made to him,” Thompson told reporters Friday.

He added that the committee does not have McCarthy’s phone records, and that the opportunity could come from looking at Hutchinson’s phone.

Rebecca Beitsch contributed.

 

THE MOST PATHETIC MEN IN AMERICA

Why Lindsey Graham, Kevin McCarthy, and so many other cowards in Congress are still doing Trump’s bidding

 

“For somebody who has the picture of Ronald Reagan on his wall in his office in the Capitol, the notion that now Kevin McCarthy is going to make himself the leader of the pro-Putin wing of my party is just a stunning thing.” 

— Liz Cheney, Meet the Press, October 23, 2022

 

Opinion | Many Reporters Think Kevin McCarthy Is Dumb. Why Can’t They Say So?

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2022/06/03/kevin-mccarthy-washington-media-taboo-intelligence-00036894

[Excerpts:]

It turns out that stupid may be one of Washington’s last taboos.

Left to their own devices, insiders will bandy about all kinds of notions about prominent pols: Who’s a liar, who’s losing their marbles, who’s a dupe.

But while other polite norms have crumbled — conventions against alleging dishonesty shrank during the Trump years; recent coverage of Sen. Dianne Feinstein suggests there’s a new candor about discussing senility — out-and-out accusations of dopiness are rare.

Even in opinion columns, the language tends to elide the subject. About the roughest recent assessment of McCarthy’s intellect among the writers who are actually permitted to share their point of view came from conservative Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson, who called him an “ambitious plodder … someone difficult for his colleagues to attack because he never had anything remotely interesting to say.” (In the same column, Gerson had no problem using short, specific, non-euphemistic language about other aspects of McCarthy, calling him a “liar” and a “hypocrite.”)

 

Letters from an American, Heather Scott Richardson

May 30, 2022

https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/s/now-and-then

[Excerpts:]

“If Americans are concerned that the Republicans have gamed the system, the January 6 committee hearings seem unlikely to provide much reassurance.”

——-

On June 9, the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol will begin six televised hearings to explain to the American people what happened on and around that day.

That story is unlikely to reflect well on Republican leadership, who are trying to discredit the committee itself by claiming it is illegitimate. Their wiggling doesn’t look great for those who are supposed to be responsible for writing our laws.

The story is that the House tried to set up a bipartisan commission, and Senate Republicans used the filibuster to kill it (almost exactly a year ago today, actually). Then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi used precisely the same model Republicans had used to set up their 2014 Benghazi probe.

Pelosi had the power to name the chair and 13 members, five of them in consultation with Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). McCarthy’s picks included Representatives Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Jim Banks (R-IN), both of whom were closely linked to Trump and had already expressed opposition to the committee. When Pelosi refused to add Jordan and Banks to the roster, McCarthy withdrew all the Republicans he had chosen. Pelosi then added Republicans Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), and kept the committee at 9 people.

When asked to cooperate with the committee or respond to subpoenas, Republicans have since tried to argue that it is illegitimate. But early this month, U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Kelly—appointed by former president Trump—dismissed all those claims.

That decision came in a case about a committee subpoena for the Republican National Committee’s email marketing data from Salesforce, Inc., the company that handled fundraising emails in the weeks after Trump lost the election. The committee asked for the emails in February, wanting to determine to what degree they asked for donations by claiming that the election results were fraudulent.

It could have seen who coordinated the emails, how many people opened the emails that spread false information, and whether any of those folks were eventually among those who stormed the Capitol. The RNC sued Salesforce, its own email vendor, in March to stop the production of those documents. Yesterday, though, the committee said that the case has been held up so long that it recognizes it no longer has time to analyze the information before the hearings, even if it were to get that data.

There are other subpoenas also being stonewalled. The committee subpoenaed Representatives McCarthy, Jordan, Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Scott Perry (R-PA), and Mo Brooks (R-AL) earlier this month. Their responses are coming in now, and they indicate that these members of Congress continue to reject the legitimacy of the committee.

On Wednesday, May 25, Biggs’s lawyers said his subpoena had not been properly served, the committee is not valid, and anything Biggs did is protected because it was part of his legislative duties. Jordan told the committee the same day that he would not comply with a subpoena until it told him all the evidence—documents, videos, or anything else—it has about him beforehand.

On Friday, McCarthy’s lawyer sent an 11-page letter to the committee denying its legitimacy and attacking the ability of Congress to investigate a potential crime because its mandate is only to make laws. And on Sunday, Brooks claimed to Fox News Sunday guest host Sandra Smith that he had not been served with a subpoena, and he said he wanted to talk with his subpoenaed colleagues before responding.

Meanwhile, Perry has simply said the whole committee effort is a charade, but on Thursday, May 26, he was in the news when someone told Politico reporters Betsy Woodruff Swan and Kyle Cheney what Cassidy Hutchinson, who worked under then–White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, had told the committee. Hutchinson apparently testified that Meadows burned papers in his office following a meeting there with Perry after Election Day 2020.

The New York Times had previously reported that Meadows had burned papers in his office fireplace.

If Americans are concerned that the Republicans have gamed the system, the January 6 committee hearings seem unlikely to provide much reassurance.

 

Jan. 6 committee subpoenas five House Republicans, including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy

What the January 6 Subpoenas Say About Kevin McCarthy

Republican leaders have thrown in with people who attacked them.

 

Inside Kevin McCarthy’s Tortured Battle to Be House Speaker

The muted internal reaction to the GOP leader’s criticism of Donald Trump showcased his biggest strength—and his biggest weakness.

[Excerpt:]

Since the beginning of the congressional session last January, the California Republican has struggled to contain the political turmoil and interpersonal toxicity roiling the House GOP. And he has faced withering public criticism from Democrats and mostly private gripes from Republicans for his refusal to discipline his most far-right members for their—to put it euphemistically—incendiary rhetoric.

McCarthy’s handling of these simmering controversies has raised doubt about how firmly he would control the unruly elements of his party should they gain the majority. That is, if he would try to control them at all. (A spokesperson for McCarthy declined to comment for this story.)

 

‘I’ve Had It With This Guy’: G.O.P. Leaders Privately Blasted Trump After Jan. 6

In the days after the attack, Representative Kevin McCarthy planned to tell Mr. Trump to resign. Senator Mitch McConnell told allies impeachment was warranted. But their fury faded fast.

Alexander Burns and 

Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin, who cover politics for The Times, are the authors of “This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America’s Future,” from which this article is adapted.

No one embodies the stark accommodation to Mr. Trump more than Mr. McCarthy, a 57-year-old Californian who has long had his sights set on becoming speaker of the House. In public after Jan. 6, Mr. McCarthy issued a careful rebuke of Mr. Trump, saying that he “bears responsibility” for the mob that tried to stop Congress from officially certifying the president’s loss. But he declined to condemn him in sterner language.

In private, Mr. McCarthy went much further.

On a phone call with several other top House Republicans on Jan. 8, Mr. McCarthy said Mr. Trump’s conduct on Jan. 6 had been “atrocious and totally wrong.” He faulted the president for “inciting people” to attack the Capitol, saying that Mr. Trump’s remarks at a rally on the National Mall that day were “not right by any shape or any form.”

During that conversation, Mr. McCarthy inquired about the mechanism for invoking the 25th Amendment — the process whereby the vice president and members of the cabinet can remove a president from office — before concluding that was not a viable option. Mr. McCarthy, who was among those who objected to the election results, was uncertain and indecisive, fretting that the Democratic drive to impeach Mr. Trump would “put more fuel on the fire” of the country’s divisions.

But Mr. McCarthy’s resolve seemed to harden as the gravity of the attack — and the potential political fallout for his party — sank in. Two members of Mr. Trump’s cabinet had quit their posts after the attack and several moderate Republican governors had called for the president’s resignation. Video clips of the riot kept surfacing online, making the raw brutality of the attack ever more vivid in the public mind.

On Jan. 10, Mr. McCarthy spoke again with the leadership team.

When Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming asked about the chances Mr. Trump might resign, Mr. McCarthy said he was doubtful, but he had a plan.

The Democrats were driving hard at an impeachment resolution, Mr. McCarthy said, and they would have the votes to pass it. Now he planned to call Mr. Trump and tell him it was time for him to go.

Mr. McCarthy said he would tell Mr. Trump of the impeachment resolution: “I think this will pass, and it would be my recommendation you should resign,” he said, according to the recording of the call, which runs just over an hour. The Times has reviewed the full recording of the conversation.

He acknowledged it was unlikely Mr. Trump would follow that suggestion.

“What he did is unacceptable. Nobody can defend that and nobody should defend it,” he told the group.

 

Kevin McCarthy pledges to restore Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar’s committee assignments in Congress despite their participation in pro-White Supremacy Conference
March 11, 2022

 

Courting G.O.P.’s Mainstream and Extreme, McCarthy Plots Rise to Speaker

The top House Republican is attempting a series of political contortions to try to secure his place in a party that has shifted under his feet.

By Annie Karni and Jonathan Weisman

Feb. 24, 2022

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/24/us/politics/kevin-mcarthy-speaker.html?referringSource=articleShare

 

McCarthy endorses Cheney’s primary rival in rebuke of Republican incumbent who has denounced Trump

 Mariana Alfaro

February 17, 2022|Updated February 18, 2022

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/02/17/mccarthy-cheney-jan-6/

[Excerpts:]

Cheney has drawn the ire of many in the GOP as she has insisted her fidelity is to the Constitution and not Trump, whom she holds responsible for inciting the mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s electoral college win. More than 100 members of law enforcement were assaulted in the attack that resulted in five dead.

As punishment for her heresy, House Republicans, led by McCarthy, ousted Cheney from her leadership position as conference chairman, the No. 3 post in the party, last May. Cheney said then: “I will do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office.”

McCarthy’s endorsement comes less than two weeks after the Republican National Committee voted to condemn Cheney and Kinzinger in a censure resolution passed overwhelmingly on a voice vote. The resolution denounces the House committee’s investigation as “a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse” and states that the behavior of Cheney and Kinzinger “has been destructive to the institution of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Republican Party and our republic.

Upon hearing the news of Trump’s endorsement of Hageman for the at-large seat, Cheney quipped a quick answer: “Bring it.”

Later, she said it was “tragic” that some in the primary race had “sacrificed … their principles and their duty to the people of Wyoming out of fear and in favor of loyalty to a former president who deliberately misled the American people about the 2020 election, provoked an attack on the U.S. Capitol, and failed to perform his duties as president as the violence ensued.”

GOP’s McCarthy has little incentive to work with Jan. 6 panel

BY REBECCA BEITSCH AND SCOTT WONG – 01/15/22 

https://thehill.com/homenews/house/589839-gops-mccarthy-has-little-incentive-to-work-with-jan-6-panel

With his eye on the Speaker’s gavel, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has almost no political incentive to cooperate with the special Jan. 6 committee.

Doing so would infuriate former President Trump and his far-right allies in Congress, and make it much harder for McCarthy to win an internal election as Speaker if the GOP wins back the House majority this fall.

Yet there are also risks for McCarthy to keep quiet about his conversations with Trump before and during the violent attack, as it will give Democrats and even some Republicans the opportunity to inflict damage on the GOP leader, weakening McCarthy as he struggles to maintain control of his raucous caucus during a critical stretch for his party.

“The significance of what happened that day isn’t lost on anybody, and he’s clearly put a political calculation above talking about what he knows,” a House Republican aide said of McCarthy’s communications with Trump surrounding Jan. 6.

“He thinks that if he cooperates he will raise the ire of Trump and the Marjorie Taylor Greenes and Matt Gaetzs of the world will get upset with him, and then if Republicans take the majority they won’t support him for Speaker,” the source added. “His whole goal, everything he does, is focused on ‘how do I get or maintain 218 votes so I can be Speaker.’ ”

It’s a delicate balancing act that McCarthy has been struggling with ever since his first failed attempt to grab the Speaker’s gavel in 2015. That year, McCarthy had the support of most establishment Republicans, but a small band of conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus blocked him from ascending to the Speaker’s office. 

When Trump won the White House a year later, McCarthy hitched his wagon to the mercurial president and became one of his staunchest supporters on the Hill. But the Jan. 6 attack — and Trump’s role in it — quickly complicated their relationship, and has raised doubts among Trump loyalists about whether McCarthy can be trusted. [Boldface added].

Read More

Greene, a favorite ally of Trump, said last fall that McCarthy “doesn’t have the full support to be Speaker.”

The select Jan. 6 committee, led by Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), sent a letter this week seeking to speak to McCarthy about his frantic phone call to Trump that day as a mob of thousands of his supporters laid siege to the Capitol.  

But the letter also highlighted McCarthy’s evolving response to the attack, accusing the leader of having “changed markedly” since taking a meeting with Trump at Mar-a-Lago shortly after the attack.

The letter includes direct quotes from McCarthy’s floor speech saying that Trump “bears responsibility” for the “attack on Congress by mob rioters.” It also asks McCarthy about interviews he gave with his local newspaper describing a “very heated conversation” with Trump, demanding that he “get help” as the attack was underway. Help from the National Guard did not arrive for hours.

On Friday, more headaches emerged for McCarthy. CNN dug up audiofrom an overlooked interview McCarthy gave to a local radio station in his district, where he repeatedly said Trump did bear responsibility for Jan. 6, and in fact, said that Trump told him he was partly responsible for the attack. 

“I say he has responsibility. He told me personally that he does have some responsibility. I think a lot of people do,” McCarthy told KERN-AM in Bakersfield, Calif. 

Later, the radio host asks McCarthy if it’s true the GOP leader tried to work out a deal with Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) to censure Trump for his role in Jan. 6. 

“Yes,” McCarthy replied. “I feel he has some responsibility. That’s why I think censure rises to that level.”

The resurfacing of McCarthy’s comments about Trump’s responsibility could complicate their fragile relationship. Trump used a vulgar term to describe McCarthy less than two weeks after the attack, pushing McCarthy to take a trip to see the ex-president in Mar-a-Lago and repair the relationship shortly thereafter.

If Trump turns on McCarthy, it would be a fatal blow to the California Republican’s lifelong dreams of becoming Speaker given Trump’s continued dominance over the party, even after the Jan. 6 attack. Without Trump’s support, McCarthy could never secure the 218 votes needed on the House floor.

“Him and Trump have not really been on the greatest terms since Jan. 6, so I’m sure McCarthy is worried about that with his Speakership in the balance. Because the last thing he wants is a statement or Donald Trump out on the stump out telling Republicans, ‘Don’t support your member if they support Kevin McCarthy because he didn’t fight for me, etc,’ ” a second Republican aide told The Hill.

“He needs Trump’s backing and/or Trump to be quiet for him to be Speaker.”

Facing reporters in a contentious news conference this week, McCarthy largely dodged and deflected questions about his refusal to sit down with the committee. 

He said he had already given numerous media interviews about his conversations with Trump, and that there was nothing the Jan. 6 committee would learn from speaking with him.

The committee’s efforts are “pure politics,” McCarthy said.

But the committee has a number of outstanding questions for McCarthy and his conversations with Trump before, during and after the attack, including when he first spoke with Trump, and whether accounts about his conversations with Trump — relayed by other lawmakers — are accurate.  

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that McCarthy has “an obligation” to help get to the truth of what happened, while the committee’s Republican members have also been needling the leader.

“I wish that he were a brave and honorable man,” Cheney, one of the panel’s two Republican members, told CNN. “He’s clearly trying to cover up what happened. He has an obligation to come forward, and we’ll get to the truth.”

The headache from the committee isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The panel has floated that it may be willing to consider formal subpoenas for lawmakers who don’t comply with its initial invitations, a group that also includes Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.).

Failure to comply means he could face a contempt of Congress resolution and Justice Department prosecution much like onetime White House strategist Stephen Bannon.

Such a move would likely be challenged in court, adding another potential hassle for McCarthy. 

“I think he’s made a pro and con list, checked and measured and recognizes: ‘If I cooperate – even if this pressure is only going increase going forward, even if these questions are only going to grow louder, even if this is going to consume everything and become a distraction – the downside to cooperating means that House Republicans will not support me,’” the first aide said.

“And I think he’s just made that calculation, and that’s how he’s going to operate going forward.”

 

 

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson, January 13, 2022

The January 6th Committee also asked House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) yesterday to testify. He promptly refused, saying the committee is illegitimate (a court has said it is legitimate). The committee’s 6-page letter requesting McCarthy’s voluntary cooperation made it clear they have a lot of information.

In an interview with Greg Sargent of the Washington Post, New York University School of Law professor Ryan Goodman suggested that McCarthy might be able to shed light on whether Trump believed the rioters were helping his effort to overturn the election. Lawmakers who talked to McCarthy in January about his expletive-laden conversation with Trump as McCarthy tried to get him to call off the rioters reported that Trump’s answer to McCarthy was: “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.”

Sargent’s article suggests that, among other things, the committee wants to know if Trump tried to make a deal with McCarthy or others, indicating that he would call off the rioters if the Republicans either overturned the election results or delayed the count.

 

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson, November 19, 2021

Today began with Republican leadership doubling down on its support for Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ), whom the House censured yesterday for tweeting a cartoon video of himself killing a Democratic colleague, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and attacking the president, Joe Biden. Only two Republicans voted with the Democrats in favor of the censure.

Former president Donald Trump issued a statement praising Gosar and saying the congressman “has my Complete and Total Endorsement!” In addition to the censure, the House stripped Gosar of his committee assignments, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said today that if the Republicans take the majority and he is elected Speaker, he will likely throw Democrats off committees and give Gosar and Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who was stripped of her committee assignments in February after violent threats against Democratic colleagues, better committee assignments.

 

Jan. 6 committee leaders blast McCarthy’s ‘baseless’ claim about Trump’s innocenceAmy B WangSept. 4. 2021 https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/09/04/jan-6-committee-leaders-blast-mccarthys-baseless-claim-about-trumps-innocence/Leaders of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol are calling out House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) for making “baseless” claims regarding former president Donald Trump’s involvement in that day’s violence.

In a joint statement Saturday, committee chairman Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) and vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) criticized a Thursday interview by McCarthy, in which he said the FBI had concluded Trump had “no involvement” in the insurrection.

“Minority Leader McCarthy … has suggested, based on an anonymous report, that the Department of Justice has concluded that Donald Trump did not cause, incite, or provoke the violence on Jan. 6,” Thompson and Cheney stated Saturday, adding that when the report was first published, the select committee queried executive branch agencies and committees involved in that investigation.

“We’ve received answers and briefings from the relevant entities, and it’s been made clear to us that reports of such a conclusion are baseless,” they continued.

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Thompson and Cheney also pointedly noted that McCarthy’s statements — including remarks he gave on the House floor on Jan. 13, a week after the insurrection — “are inconsistent with his recent comments.”

The violent Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob seeking to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s electoral win left five people dead, including a police officer.

On Jan. 13, McCarthy said in a House floor speech that Trump “bears responsibility” for the Capitol attack and even floated the idea of censuring Trump, though McCarthy did not support his impeachment.

About two weeks later, after Biden had been inaugurated, McCarthy flew to Florida to meet with Trump. There, they discussed helping Republicans take back the House in 2022, and McCarthy praised Trump’s popularity as having “never been stronger.”

Since then, McCarthy has steadily increased his defense of Trump’s response to the Jan. 6 violence and tried to retract some of his earlier statements about Trump’s culpability. The House GOP leader in May also changed course and supported ousting Cheney, a vocal Trump critic, from her position as Republican conference chair. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), who has embraced Trump, replaced Cheney in the No. 3 job in GOP leadership soon afterward.

McCarthy has also intensified his attacks on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), first opposing a bipartisan commission to investigate Jan. 6, then pulling all GOP nominees for a bipartisan committee after Pelosi blocked two of McCarthy’s picks.

He has since attacked the select committee, which includes Democrat and Republican members, as a “purely political” vehicle for Pelosi to attack Trump.

On Saturday, Thompson and Cheney stressed the bipartisan committee would continue its work.

“We will continue to pursue all elements of this investigation in a nonpartisan and thorough manner,” they said.

 

Letters from an American, Heather Cox RichardsonJuly 29, 2021[Excerpt:  On the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol]Meanwhile, it looks more and more like Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), are eager to change the subject. McCarthy today tried to walk back his previous blaming of Trump for the events of January 6, trying instead to tie Pelosi to the riot. He told reporters that when he said on January 6 that “[t]he President bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters” and that Trump “should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding,” he made the comment without “the information we have today.” Then he tried to blame Pelosi for the Capitol Police response. McCarthy seems unable to figure out how to handle the changing political dynamic and is continuing to shove the octopus of his different caucus interests into the string bag he’s holding only by promising that the Republicans will win in 2022. To that end, he is essentially walking away from governance and focusing only on the culture wars.Read More
In addition to pulling the Trump Republicans off the select committee on the insurrection, he also pulled all six of the Republicans off a key committee on the economy, the Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth. At a time when voters in all parties are concerned with the huge divergence in income and wealth in this country, a divergence that rivals that of the 1850s, 1890s, and 1920s, members of this committee could make names for themselves. Ohio Republican Warren Davidson was one of those removed from the committee; he told Cleveland media he had been “looking forward” to participating and would “gladly rejoin” the committee if McCarthy relented, but it was Ohio Democrat Marcy Kaptur, still on the committee, who got the headline and the approving story. Instead of this productive sort of headline, Representatives Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), and Louie Gohmert (R-TX) staged an event in which they tried to visit the accused January 6 rioters at a Washington, D.C., jail. Refused entry, Gohmert told the press: “We’re in totalitarian, Marxist territory here. This is the way third-world people get treated.”McCarthy and fellow Trump supporters are trying to get their own headlines by opposing new mask mandates as the Delta variant of coronavirus is gathering momentum across the country. On Tuesday, the attending physician for the United States Congress, Dr. Brian Monahan, reinstated the use of masks in the House of Representatives and recommended it in the smaller Senate. On Wednesday, Pelosi required the use of masks in the House, and reminded members that they would be fined for refusing to wear them. All of the Democrats in the House are vaccinated; it appears that only about half of House Republicans are.Today, House Republicans launched a revolt against mask use. They are trying to adjourn the House rather than gather with masks. Chip Roy (R-TX), said “This institution is a sham. And we should adjourn and shut this place down.” Representatives Greene, Lauren Boebert (R-CO) and Andy Biggs (R-AZ), all maskless, gave Roy a standing ovation. Today, a group of House Republicans without masks posed for cameras as they tried to gain entrance to the Senate. Consolidating around Trump after his November loss was always a gamble, but increasingly it looks like a precarious one. Just this week, the former president tried to sabotage the infrastructure deal, and 17 senators ignored him. In Texas, on Tuesday, Trump’s ability to swing races was tested and failed when the candidate he backed—even pumping a last-minute $100,000 into the race—lost. McCarthy has promised to win in 2022 with culture wars rather than governing, and that looks like an increasingly weak bet. But make no mistake: the ace in his vest remains the voter suppression laws currently being enacted across the country.

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson

June 28, 2021 

Pelosi also announced today that the House is preparing legislation to establish a select committee to investigate the January 6 attack on the Capitol. She had to do so, she noted, because “Senate Republicans did Mitch McConnell a ‘personal favor’ rather than their patriotic duty and voted against the bipartisan commission negotiated by Democrats and Republicans.  But Democrats are determined to find the truth.”

The draft of the bill provides for the committee to have 13 members. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), himself likely to be called as a witness before the committee, will be able to “consult” with the Speaker on five of the members, but the final makeup of the committee will be up to the Speaker. This language echoes that of the select committee that investigated the Benghazi attack, and should prevent McCarthy from sabotaging the committee with far-right lawmakers eager to disrupt the proceedings rather than learn what happened. Instead, we can expect to see on the committee Republicans who voted to establish the independent, bipartisan commission that McConnell and Republican senators killed.

 

huffpost.com, Jan. 21, 2021:

“Republicans Celebrate Democracy After Lying About Fraud, Voting To Overturn Election:
“Congratulations to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris,” House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) tweeted Wednesday, weeks after voting to overturn the election and after lying on television that Trump won the election.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/05/13/

After House Republicans purged Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming from her leadership role, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy further debased himself by serving up one of the biggest, most widely mocked lies of the year.

“I don’t think anybody is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election,” the California Republican insisted, miraculously refraining from bursting out in snickers. “I think that is all over with.”

This nonsense has been massacred by fact checks and widely mocked on Twitter. But it’s more than just a sad, sick joke: It shows that a careful and deliberate scheme is underway to erase very large truths about this moment, a project we cannot allow to succeed.

Roll Call, Nov. 12, 2020:

“After terrorists shed blood in our Capitol, Kevin McCarthy went to the House Floor and led the renewed attack on our democracy. Kevin McCarthy must resign.” U.S. Rep Don Beyer (VA)

“The top Republican in the House on Thursday stood firm in not accepting President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, and speculated that recounts could turn the tide of President Donald Trump’s loss and welcomed new lawmakers into his conference who have given credence to the QAnon conspiracy theory.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The far more significant threat [posed by contemporary American conservatives) is the overt effort to restrict voting rights and manipulate elections”. Resort to [violence, restriction of voting rights and manipulation of elections] . . . creates an existential threat to American liberal democracy”.

— Francis Fukuyama