Jan. 6 committee leaders Thompson, Cheney blast Kevin McCarthy’s claims that Trump had ‘no involvement’ in the riot as ‘baseless’

Bennie Thompson Liz Cheney
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi), left, listens as Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) speaks during the House select committee hearing on the Jan. 6 attack in Washington, DC, on July 27, 2021. Washington Metropolitan Police Department officer Michael Fanone is at center. Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via AP, Pool
  • Panel leaders criticized Kevin McCarthy for his claims about Trump’s involvement in the Jan. 6 riot.
  • Reps. Bennie Thompson and Liz Cheney responded to a recent McCarthy interview conduced by KGET-TV.
  • The leaders pointed out that McCarthy’s initial statements about Trump and Jan. 6 have shifted,..
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Leaders of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot on Saturday criticized House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy for spreading “baseless” claims about former President Donald Trump’s involvement in the deadly insurrection.

Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the committee chairman, and GOP Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the vice chairwoman, released a joint statement in response to a recent interview that the California Republican conducted with the Bakersfield-anchored NBC affiliate KGET-TV.

During the interview, McCarthy suggested that the FBI and Senate agencies looked into Trump’s link to the insurrection and came to the conclusion that the former president was not involved in the mayhem.

“Well, you know what’s interesting about that? … The FBI has investigated this,” McCarthy said. “The Senate had bipartisan committees. And you know what they found? That there is no involvement.”

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Thompson and Cheney said that McCarthy made the claim based on an anonymous report which suggested that the Department of Justice “concluded that Donald Trump did not cause, incite, or provoke” the riot.

“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 January 6th,” the statement read. “When this anonymous report was first published, the Select Committee queried the Executive Branch agencies and congressional committees involved in the 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 added: “We will continue to pursue all elements of this investigation in a nonpartisan and thorough manner. We also remind Minority Leader McCarthy of his statements following January 6th, including his statement from the House Floor on January 13th – which are inconsistent with his recent comments.”

The two leaders were pointing out a speech that McCarthy gave in January as the House was voting to impeach Trump for “incitement of insurrection” and the GOP House leader expressed that “the president bears responsibility” for the siege.

On Jan. 21, McCarthy backtracked and said that Trump did not initiate the insurrection.

“I don’t believe he provoked it if you listen to what he said at the rally,” McCarthy said at the time.

During an interview that aired on Jan. 24, the GOP leader went on to say that “everybody across this country has some responsibility” for the attack.

“Think about four years ago after President Trump was sworn in. What happened the very next day? The title was ‘resist’ with people walking in the streets,” he said in the interview with Gray Television’s Greta Van Susteren.

McCarthy, who has sought to diminish the legitimacy of the Jan. 6 committee by slamming it as a partisan affair, despite the presence of Cheney and GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois on the panel, is aiming for the House speakership in 2022 and has muted any of his past criticism of Trump regarding Jan. 6.

The minority leader last week warned telecommunications companies not to adhere to Jan. 6 committee requests for the phone records of Trump family members and select lawmakers, stating that a “Republican majority will not forget” who complied.