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What Kevin McCarthy considers worse than Watergate

After John Durham undermined the Republican Party’s new conspiracy theory, Kevin McCarthy tried to say the discredited story goes “further than Watergate.”


On Fox News last night, Sean Hannity asked House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy a highly relevant question: What would House Republicans do if the party is in the majority next year? As someone with more than a passing interest in GOP governance and the party’s non-existent policy agenda, I was eager to hear the Californian’s response.

Alas, McCarthy didn’t have much of an answer. The Republican vowed to “secure the border,” though he didn’t say how or how his policies would differ from the status quo. He said he’d make the United States “energy independent,” which by some measures, we already are.

McCarthy quickly referenced safe streets and some kind of investigation into the origins of Covid-19, before getting to the heart of the matter:

“We’ll get to the bottom of what’s happening in the Durham investigation as well and hold people accountable. Sean, what you’re talking about is further than Watergate. In Watergate, they broke into a campaign, in what Durham is laying out is possibly, not only they break into a campaign, but they broke into the White House, to a sitting president. We want to get to the bottom of that.”

As it happens, I can help McCarthy and his conference get to the bottom of this: What the would-be House Speaker claimed isn’t true.

It’s impossible to say with any confidence what the House minority leader genuinely believes, as opposed to what he feels compelled to say on Fox News because he knows Donald Trump is watching. Maybe McCarthy knows what he said on the air last night is nonsense; maybe he’s genuinely confused about reality.

Either way, there is no meaningful connection between the House GOP leader’s claims and the truth. Even if we put aside the obvious fact that Watergate was about far more than an office break-in, no one broke into the White House to spy on “a sitting president.” It’s not even what Special Council John Durham has alleged.

McCarthy’s timing was especially poor: The Californian ran to a conservative media outlet to peddle a baseless conspiracy theory after Durham had distanced himself from such conspiracy theories in a court filing.

The prosecutor explicitly acknowledged those who’ve “misinterpreted“ the information he’s provided.

What’s more, in the same court filing, Durham has conceded that no research was conducted on data collected from the Trump White House. All of the data was collected before Trump’s inauguration.

It was after the special counsel’s office made these acknowledgements that McCarthy said this rapidly evaporating, manufactured “controversy” goes “further than Watergate,” and will be a key priority for Republican lawmakers if/when they’re in the congressional majority.

Sometimes it seems California’s 23rd congressional district isn’t sending its best.