House Republican Leader Scrambling to Save Face for GOP Following Capitol Insurrection

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Thursday called for a bipartisan investigation into what role certain members of Congress, such as freshman Representative Lauren Boebert (R-CO), had in the January 6th siege on the United States Capitol.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Speaking to reporters at a press conference, McCarthy said:

Any member who participated in breaking the law or rioting that way … I think anybody should be held to account in that process. I don’t know of any member that has done that. This is why I called for, last week after this happened, a bipartisan commission. We should get to the bottom of this.

There are so many questions that I [have] personally as a leader. I read in the paper that the FBI, prior to any rally, had information that something was going to happen here, and conveyed that to the Capitol Police. I want to know, why was the Republican leader not notified of that? Why was I not notified to make sure we were protected?

Even though I had House administration attend a meeting where they said they had correct preparation when they knew the National Guard and others… was the National Guard called soon enough? Was it brought forward soon enough? Were there reasons why the National Guard maybe wasn’t, having armed? Is there a reason if something happened from the summer why they would not be brought up sooner? I have questions about this building when I was told what was protected when I was told what doors could not be opened or entered or penetrated? Well, that didn’t go through. There’s a lot of planning through, and the only way you will be able to answer these questions is through a bipartisan commission. So let’s get and have all the facts before we accuse anybody of anything. But let’s all base it upon the facts and the knowledge that we need to know.

Watch McCarthy’s remarks via Mediaite.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has also voiced her support for the formation of a commission to look into the matter, noting that former President Donald Trump and his cadre of collaborators are “accessories to that crime” of murder:

So when we talk about ‘did any of our colleagues collaborate?’ Well, that remains to be seen. We have to get the evidence of that. And if they did, they would be accessories to the crime. And the crime, in some cases, was murder.

And this president is an accessory to that crime because he instigated that insurrection that caused those deaths and this destruction. So again we’ll have to see what the evidence is and if that’s the case it’s not a question of whether we’re comfortable serving with them, it’s about their prosecution as people who are accessories to the crime. But let’s see.

But McCarthy’s wish for a probe into whether members of the House Republican caucus aided and abetted an act of mass sedition was weakened on Thursday when he did a 180 on Trump’s role in the attack.

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

That directly contradicts what McCarthy said on January 13th – two days after he told GOP lawmakers that Trump inspired the deadly assault.

McCarthy said at the time:

The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding. These facts require immediate action by President Trump.

He also defended Trump’s future role within the Republican Party:

Every former president still has a role within their party. This president brought a lot of great success. He brought people to the party who hadn’t been involved before and he should continue to engage in that way.

On Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said on the Senate floor that “the mob was fed lies” and that “they were provoked by the president and other powerful people.”

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