WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy said on Friday that he does not recall urging then-White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson to prevent Donald Trump from coming to Capitol Hill on 6 January 2021, despite his sworn testimony to the contrary.
Hutchinson, the star witness at a televised hearing before the House committee investigating the assault on Congress by Trump supporters on Jan. 6, testified under oath that a “frustrated and angry” McCarthy called her that day. after President Trump announced at a nearby rally that he would join a march on Capitol Hill.
“Mr. McCarthy called me with this information,” Hutchinson told the panel on June 28. “He was confused, because he didn’t know what the president had just said… He (McCarthy) said, ‘I just said it on stage, Cassidy. Find out. Don’t come here.'” He also said that McCarthy had been in contact with her about Trump’s plans in the days before the attack.
But McCarthy insisted Friday that he had no recollection of speaking with Hutchinson, at the time an assistant to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
“I don’t remember talking to her that day,” McCarthy said at a news conference. “I don’t recall having any conversations with her about the president coming to Capitol Hill.”
McCarthy said he did not see Trump’s speech before the attack on Capitol Hill and was not aware that Trump said he would join his supporters in marching there.
A committee spokesman declined to comment.
The panel is investigating Trump’s role in the attack, which occurred as the House and Senate worked to certify Democrat Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential election victory.
Trump did not join his supporters at the end, saying the Secret Service prevented him from accompanying them. But the committee has presented evidence that the mob was encouraged by its repeated false claims that the election was stolen through massive voter fraud.
Days after the June hearing, McCarthy dismissed Hutchinson’s testimony as “hearsay.” She maintains that the panel is conducting a partisan investigation.
McCarthy said he instead called then-deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner in an effort to reach the president on Jan. 6.
(Reporting by Rose Horowitch and David Morgan; editing by Jonathan Oatis)