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Jan. 6 panel asks GOP leader Kevin McCarthy to voluntarily share information

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The Democratic-led House panel investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has asked House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to voluntarily testify. Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson says he hopes McCarthy can explain his remarks on the day of the siege.

BENNIE THOMPSON: We know that he gave a statement on the floor about President Trump bearing some responsibility for what occurred. And we need to get him before the committee to just say, why did you make that statement? For

SHAPIRO: To discuss this, we are joined by NPR congressional reporter Claudia Grisales.

Hi, Claudia.

CLAUDIA GRISALES, BYLINE: Hi, Ari.

SHAPIRO: What does the committee want to ask McCarthy about?

GRISALES: So they sent him a six-page letter. They want to talk to him about the violence we saw on January 6 and the events in the days leading up to and after. They said he was in touch with the Trump chief of staff - this is Mark Meadows - and want to learn more about how Trump's plans for January 6 came together. There are reports that he told Meadows and Trump that objections to the election's results were, quote, "doomed to fail." And they also want to talk to him about public remarks that he has shared that he had a, quote, "very heated conversation" with Trump on the day of the attack.

SHAPIRO: What do we know about the role that McCarthy played on that day?

GRISALES: Ultimately, he supported these continued objections to the election's results even after the riot. But he did have harsh words for the president just days later. And Thompson wants to know more about that.

THOMPSON: We'd like to know, did you call the White House and say, hey, what's going on? We don't know. We think it's significant because a few days later, he was on the floor saying that the president beared some responsibility for what occurred.

GRISALES: And the committee wants to know more about any conversations that McCarthy had with Trump, his legal team and an ally - this is Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio - and others.

SHAPIRO: Now, you said that beyond communications from January 6, the committee also wants to hear about the days leading up to the insurrection and after as well. What are they interested in there?

GRISALES: They want to know more about Trump's state of mind, especially after the attack, and also any discussions about his impeachment, which we did see take place, and other possibilities that came up, such as his censure or removal under the 25th Amendment or even immediate resignation. McCarthy also may have been worried about more violence after January 6. And also Thompson noted that McCarthy did receive FBI briefings saying that that was a possibility.

SHAPIRO: And what has McCarthy said about these requests from his fellow lawmakers?

GRISALES: Well, he, like most Republicans, have boycotted the committee's effort, so he did issue a statement late Wednesday saying the committee is not conducting a, quote, "legitimate investigation," pointing to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's decision last year not to take any of his Republican appointees and put them on the panel. So he said although the panel wants to talk to him about public statements that he has already shared, plus private conversations that he claims are not tied to the violence we saw on January 6, he has, quote, "nothing else to add." And he said it was with neither regret nor satisfaction that he concluded that he would not participate.

SHAPIRO: That is NPR's Claudia Grisales as the January 6 investigation marches on.

Thanks for your reporting, Claudia.

GRISALES: Thank you much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Claudia Grisales is a congressional reporter assigned to NPR's Washington Desk.