McCarthy explains why he's reversing course, refusing to testify before Jan. 6 committee

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Thursday said he won’t testify before the Jan. 6 select committee — after saying in May of last year that he would provide information about a phone call he had with then-President Donald Trump on the day of the insurrection — because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was playing politics with the committee.

Video transcript

- Would you be willing to testify about your conversation with Donald Trump on January 6 if you were asked by an outside commission?

KEVIN MCCARTHY: Sure. Next question. Good, all right.

- You battled the creation of an outside commission from the start. You also [INAUDIBLE] the Select Committee.

KEVIN MCCARTHY: Well, that's not true.

- But you also--

KEVIN MCCARTHY: Go ahead and ask you a question, and I'll verify what's true and not.

- I appreciate that. But you said, sure, you'd be willing to testify about your conversation.

KEVIN MCCARTHY: Yeah. What was the date of that?

- That was in May of last year.


- And you now say you won't agree to voluntarily cooperate.


- So why should the public not conclude that you're trying to hide something here and hide the facts from getting out?

KEVIN MCCARTHY: After January 6, you can state this, who was the first person to offer a bipartisan commission to look at that day? Was it me? I'll help you. The answer is yes. Nancy Pelosi waited four months. In that time period, as we came here and discussed many times-- You were here. You would ask me questions.

My fear began to erode that she had played politics with this. You watched it unfold and unfold, how she would prepare that who could have a subpoena power, who can have the scope, continuing to fight it all along the way that we now found she just played politics while the Senate had two committees bipartisan look at what happened on January 6. The FBI was doing their own investigation. And you all know the role of Congress, the only role we have is legislative. You asked me that question in May.

That was two months before Nancy Pelosi decided for the first time in history by any Speaker to deny the minority to even put their individuals on a committee. So when you ask me that question, never did I thank a Speaker would play such politics and then appoint a chairman who starts the committee by saying, the only person out of bounds is the Speaker. And now that we find, even when we asked to preserve that information with the Sergeant of Arms, that they will not provide it. Maybe if Nancy Pelosi had done what other speakers would do and not play politics with it, there could have been a different answer. Yes sir.

- You defied the subpoena.

KEVIN MCCARTHY: Yes sir, go right ahead.

- You defied the subpoena.

KEVIN MCCARTHY: Go ahead, sir.

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