Kevin McCarthy, would-be House speaker, lied to two of the police officers who helped save his skin on January 6. He lied to the mother of an officer who died after the attack, telling them last year that the person who commanded Trump’s violent followers to march to the U.S. Capitol had no idea at all what they were doing. He also took credit for Trump’s eventual public statement asking rioters to “go home.” One of the attendees, then-D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone, recorded the meeting and has shared that recording with CNN.
McCarthy met with Fanone, U.S. Capitol Officer Harry Dunn, and Gladys Sicknick, the mother of late Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, in June 2021. Fanone recorded the meeting because as he told CNN, “was because I didn’t expect Kevin McCarthy to, No. 1, tell the truth; No. 2, recount the conversation accurately; and No. 3, I wanted to show people how indifferent lawmakers are, not just Republican lawmakers, but all lawmakers, to the actual American people that they are representing.” D.C. has single-party consent for recordings—what Fanone did is completely legal.
The three had been pressing McCarthy to meet with him after House Republicans had begun to try to downplay what had happened that day and McCarthy himself had started to bow to Trump’s pressure and back off his pledge to allow Republican participation on the Jan. 6 committee. Fanone writes in a new book just being launched, “The only reason McCarthy had agreed to meet with us was because he’d been getting heat for refusing to see me.”
“I’m just telling you from my phone call, I don’t know that he did know that,” McCarthy told the three, speaking about his call to Trump and Trump’s knowledge of the attack. Sicknick’s mother pushed back in the meeting, according to the audio. “He already knew what was going on,” she said of Trump. “People were fighting for hours and hours and hours. This doesn’t make any sense to me.”
Fanone also challenged McCarthy about his continued defense of Trump: “While you were on the phone with him, I was getting the shit kicked out of me!” He wrote in his book, “I asked McCarthy why he would take credit for Trump’s pathetic, half-hearted late-afternoon video address to his followers. I said, ‘Trump says to his people, ‘This is what happens when you steal an election. Go home. I love you.’ What the f–k is that? That came from the president of the United States.”
Subsequent revelations in public testimony to the January 6 committee proved just how brazenly McCarthy lied to the officers and Mrs. Sicknick.
Jan 6 committee interviews reveal that Rep. Kevin McCarthy told Donald Trump to call off the rioters but Trump turned him down, saying: ‘Well Kevin, I guess they’re just more upset about the election theft than you are’ pic.twitter.com/NBolF2CCYL— NowThis (@nowthisnews) July 22, 2022
In those hearings, former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified about her own telephone conversations with McCarthy that day, conversations which McCarthy now says he doesn’t remember having. “You told me this whole week you aren’t coming up here,” Hutchinson said that McCarthy told her. “Why would you lie to me?” She responded that as far as she knew, there weren’t plans for Trump to go to the Capitol. McCarthy answered, “Well, he just said it on stage, Cassidy. Figure it out. Don’t come up here.”
Months before McCarthy met with the officers, in the immediate aftermath of the attack, McCarthy had no problem blaming Trump for the riot. In audio obtained by The New York Times, McCarthy told fellow Republicans that he wanted Trump to resign as they discussed impeachment. “I’ve had it with this guy,” he told a group of his leadership team. “What he did is unacceptable. Nobody can defend that and nobody should defend it,” he told the group. That’s what he was saying before he made a call to Trump, when he told the group that he was going to tell Trump to resign.
That didn’t go as planned, according to more recording the Times obtained. Following that call, McCarthy told Republicans on a conference call: “Let me be very clear to all of you, and I have been very clear to the president: He bears responsibilities for his words and actions. [...] No if, ands or buts.”
“I asked him personally today: Does he hold responsibility for what happened?” McCarthy said. “Does he feel bad about what happened? He told me he does have some responsibility for what happened and he’d need to acknowledge that.”
Five months later, McCarthy told the officers who protected him that day and the mother of an officer who died as a result of that attack that Trump had nothing to do with any of it. Kevin McCarthy is a liar. And a bad one. You’d think he’d have learned his lesson about watching what he says in private meetings, given his track record in that whole pre-2016 election scandal: “There's … there's two people, I think, Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump… [S]wear to God.”
Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.
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