Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson covered quite a bit of ground during her appearance at a Jan. 6 committee hearing in late June, including sharing insights into conversations she had with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. According to her sworn testimony, the chamber’s top Republican had quite a bit to say ahead of the insurrectionist riot.
Cassidy said that she was with her colleagues at Donald Trump’s pre-riot rally, but she couldn’t hear everything the then-president was saying. During Trump’s remarks, when he said he’d join with his mob and go to Capitol Hill, McCarthy called and sounded “frustrated and angry.”
“You told me this whole week you aren’t coming up here,” McCarthy told Hutchinson, according to her version of events. “Why would you lie to me?” She responded that, as far as she knew, they weren’t going to the Capitol. At that point, McCarthy added, “Well, he just said it on stage, Cassidy. Figure it out. Don’t come up here.”
That testimony was five weeks ago tomorrow. In that time, the House minority leader has said very little about Hutchinson’s description of the Jan. 6 conversation — though as HuffPost noted, that changed late last week.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) claimed Friday that he doesn’t remember calling White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson as a mob surrounded the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. “I don’t recall talking to her that day,” McCarthy told reporters at a press conference.... “If I talked to [Hutchinson], I don’t remember it,” he said. “I don’t think I wanted a lot of people coming up to the Capitol. But I don’t remember the conversation.”
At the same press conference, the California Republican insisted that he didn’t watch Trump’s pre-riot speech. “I don’t remember having any conversations with her about coming to the Capitol ― the president coming to the Capitol,” McCarthy added. “I just — I don’t recall any of that.”
I’m not in a position to say with any confidence what the minority leader does or does not recall, but this would be quite a conversation to forget. Indeed, McCarthy said he remembered calling other White House officials on Jan. 6, but not Hutchinson.
It’s also unclear why it took nearly five weeks for the GOP leader to challenge key elements of Hutchinson’s sworn testimony. If McCarthy didn’t watch Trump’s speech, and by his version of events, couldn’t have called a White House aide about the then-president’s comments, why not say so in the immediate aftermath of the dramatic June 28 hearing?
For his part, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, one of the Republicans on the House select committee, told CNN on Friday night, in reference to the Capitol press conference earlier in the day, “I mean, look, I don’t trust a thing Kevin McCarthy says, I’ll be honest with you.”
The retiring Illinois congressman added, “Sometime about a year or two ago, [McCarthy] made the decision that his only goal was to become Speaker of the House. And he’ll do whatever he has to do, and he thinks that siding with the insurrectionists is the way to get there.”