The committee had asked McCarthy to voluntarily provide information about topics including his conversations with then-President Donald Trump before, during and after the Capitol riot. On Thursday, McCarthy again criticized the committee at length — but sometimes did so inaccurately.
Here is a fact check of three of his Thursday claims.
Criticizing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for supposedly playing politics with the committee, McCarthy claimed that “Nancy Pelosi decided, for the first time in history by any speaker, to deny the minority to even put their individuals on a committee.”
McCarthy’s past comments
McCarthy twice on Thursday attempted to distance himself from his past comments about Trump and January 6.
Facts First: It’s not true that McCarthy criticized “everyone” in his floor speech a year ago; Trump was the only politician he singled out for criticism. (He also criticized the Capitol rioters and the impeachment.) And while there is some possibility that McCarthy was genuinely confused about what phone call the reporter was asking him about on Thursday — though, as the reporter noted, this call was mentioned in Thompson’s letter to him on Wednesday — there was indeed a January 11, 2021, private conference call in which he told House Republicans that Trump had acknowledged bearing “some responsibility” for what had happened on January 6.
CNN Capitol Hill reporter Melanie Zanona reported Thursday that below is exactly what McCarthy had told House Republicans on that call, according to a source who had been on the call and kept a record of it:
“Let me be clear to you, and I have been very clear to the president. He bears responsibility for his words and actions. No if, ands or buts. I asked him personally today if he holds responsibility for what happened, if he feels bad about what happened. He told me he does have some responsibility for what happened. But he needs to acknowledge that.”
A Bennie Thompson comment
McCarthy criticized Pelosi for supposedly appointing a “chairman who starts the committee by saying the only person out of bounds is the speaker.”
Facts First: This is misleading. The committee chairman, Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, did not say that Pelosi is “the only person out of bounds” from the committee’s inquiry. Rather, in July 2021, Thompson expressed skepticism that Pelosi’s actions were relevant to the committee’s mandate to look into the facts and circumstances around the Capitol attack. Thompson didn’t go so far as to declare that Pelosi was out of bounds from the probe, and he certainly didn’t say she was the single person who was out of bounds.
Thompson’s “remains to be seen” made it clear that he was not making any firm declarations.