Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., speaks about the January 6 Select Committee on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, July 21, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Jabin Botsford | The Washington Post | fake images
Rep. Liz Cheney denied Friday that she recorded or audio leak from a phone call that appears to show House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy saying he would tell then-President Donald Trump to resign after the Jan. 6 riots on Capitol Hill.
A portion of that call, dated January 10, 2021, aired Thursday night on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.” Hours earlier, McCarthy denied saying I would tell Trump to resign.
In the audio clip, the California Republican can be heard telling Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, that he believed Trump would be impeached in the House and possibly convicted in the Senate after the Jan. 6 riots.
“The only discussion I would have with him is that I think this will happen, and it would be my recommendation that you resign,” McCarthy said, according to the recording.
Later on Friday, the media aired a separate audio clip of McCarthy from Jan. 11, 2021. In it, McCarthy tells top House Republicans that Trump admitted he bears some responsibility for the Capitol unrest.
“What he did is unacceptable. No one can defend that and no one should defend it,” McCarthy said, according to the latest recording.
The comments came days after a crowd of Trump supporters, spurred on by the then-president’s false claims that widespread fraud cost him the 2020 election, stormed Capitol Hill and disrupted lawmakers’ confirmation of the president. . Joe Bidenthe victory of .
A spokesman for Cheney, one of two Republicans on the House select committee investigating the unrest on Capitol Hill, said in a statement Friday morning that the congresswoman “did not record or leak the tape and does not know how they obtained it.” the reporters.”
“The select committee has asked Kevin McCarthy to speak with us about these events, but he has so far refused,” the spokesman said.
A McCarthy spokesman did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment. The spokesman also did not immediately explain the contradiction between McCarthy’s recorded comments and an earlier statement from the lawmaker’s office denying that McCarthy said he would pressure Trump to resign.
The explosive recordings could threaten McCarthy’s hopes of becoming House speaker if Republicans retake control of the chamber in the 2022 midterm elections. The vast majority of House Republicans, who would vote yes McCarthy becomes speaker, they have remained loyal to Trump.
Although he lost the 2020 election to Biden and has continued to spread conspiracy theories to suggest the election race was rigged against him, Trump is the GOP’s most popular figure and its de facto leader. He has hinted that he will run for president again in 2024.
The New York Times reported on Thursday that McCarthy and other Republican leaders, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, initially promised to remove Trump from politics after the Jan. 6 riots. They quickly backed off fearing retaliation from Trump and his supporters, according to the newspaper.
“I’m sick of this guy,” McCarthy told a group of Republican leaders in the days after the attack, according to the Times. The newspaper report is based on details from the forthcoming book, “This Shall Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America’s Future,” by Times reporters Alexander Burns and Jonathan Martin, who obtained the McCarthy audiotapes. .
In a call with top Republicans, apparently the same call from which one of the audio clips came, McCarthy also wondered aloud whether tech companies could suspend the social media accounts of some Republican lawmakers, the Times reported.
“Can’t they take away their Twitter accounts too?” she supposedly asked.
McCarthy issued a statement Thursday calling the Times’ reporting on him “totally false and incorrect.” He accused the “corporate media” of promoting a “liberal agenda” and added that Biden’s presidency has shown that the United States “was better off when President Trump was in the White House.”
The Times report also includes a denial from McCarthy’s spokesman, Mark Bednar, who said the Republican leader “never said he would call Trump to tell him he should resign.”
But the audio clip shared Thursday night appears to contradict that claim.
In the recording, Cheney referenced the 25th Amendment, a constitutional process to remove a president from office. He then asked McCarthy: “What if he gets there after he’s gone? Is there any chance? Are you hearing he might quit? Is there any reason to think that might happen?”
McCarthy responded, “I’ve had a few arguments. My gut tells me no. I’m seriously thinking about having that conversation with him tonight. I haven’t talked to him in a couple of days.”
McCarthy said he doubted Trump would agree to step aside. She added that an impeachment effort against Trump would definitely pass the House and likely the Senate, even if the final vote came after Trump left office on Jan. 20, 2021.
“But what I think I’m going to do is call him,” McCarthy said. “There are a lot of different ramifications for that.”
“The only discussion I would have with him is that I think this will happen, and it would be my recommendation that you resign,” McCarthy said. “Um, I mean that would be my opinion, but I don’t think he would accept it. But I don’t know.”
On Friday, Martin and Burns appeared on CNN, where they shared another clip of McCarthy speaking to House Republican leaders shortly after the riots.
“Let me be very clear with all of you, and I am very clear with the president. He bears responsibilities for his words and actions, no strings attached, no strings attached, no ifs and buts,” McCarthy said on the Jan. 11, 2021, recording, which was also obtained by MSNBC.
“I asked him personally today, do you have responsibility for what happened? Do you feel bad about what happened? He told me that he does have some responsibility for what happened. And he needed to acknowledge that,” McCarthy said.
“I know this isn’t fun. I know this isn’t cool. I know this is really hard, but what I want to do, especially here, is I don’t want to rush things,” McCarthy added.
“I’m sick of this guy. What he did is unacceptable. No one can defend that, and no one should defend it,” he said.
A Trump spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on those comments.
Less than three weeks after the calls, McCarthy traveled to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago vacation home in Palm Beach, Florida, to discuss political strategies for the 2022 midterm elections.
The House charged Trump with inciting insurrection during his final days in office. Only 10 House Republicans voted for impeachment.
The Senate acquitted Trump after Biden’s inauguration. McCarthy and McConnell voted against impeachment efforts.
Cheney was a member of McCarthy’s leadership team at the time of the call. Republicans removed her from office last year after she voted to impeach Trump and criticized him for her role in the attack on Capitol Hill.