Capitol Riot Investigation

A committee exhibit shows former Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen, as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol holds a hearing at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 16, 2022. Drew Angerer/Pool Photo via AP

Former President Donald Trump derided Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., for the House minority leader’s “very, very foolish decision” not to participate in the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

“Unfortunately, a bad decision was made. This committee — it was a bad decision not to have representation on this committee,” Trump told far-right-wing podcast host Wayne Allyn Root. “That was a very, very foolish decision.”

Trump appeared to concede that it was a huge blunder to cede total control of the committee to his political enemies, effectively giving him no way to influence the proceedings.

“When you get into the inner workings of it, you say: ‘What is this?’” Trump added. “It’s a one-sided witch hunt.”

McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked the creation of a Sept. 11-style nonpartisan commission to examine Jan. 6. That, in turn, spurred House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to create a select committee to investigate it.

The top House Republican sought to appoint several lawmakers who openly supported Trump’s lies of voter fraud and his effort to overturn the election of President Joe Biden.


When Pelosi rejected pro-Trump supporters, McCarthy gambled on withdrawing all picks from the panel, allowing Democrats to replace Trump supporters with staunch #NeverTrump Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill.

McCarthy’s gambit backfired as the committee, with no Trump supporters to hinder its probe, has proven to be extremely effective.

The panel’s three blockbuster hearings so far have laid out the case that Trump bears responsibility for the attack and bared damning new details about divisions within his inner circle and even his own family.

McCarthy originally blamed Trump for inciting the riot. But he soon sought to bury the hatchet with the most powerful man in the GOP, who holds the key to McCarthy’s dream of becoming House speaker if Republicans regain control of the House in the midterm elections.

In a sign that McCarthy cannot be sure of Trump’s support in his bid to be speaker, the former president pointedly praised as “great warriors” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., both potential rivals for the position.

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