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Ocasio-Cortez blasts McCarthy as a 'bumbling, sloppy, dishonest mess' over Trump defense

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezTrump tweets Thanksgiving criticism of NFL QBs for kneeling Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz trade jabs over COVID-19 relief: People 'going hungry as you tweet from' vacation MORE (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday lambasted House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyTop Republicans praise Trump's Flynn pardon Richmond says GOP 'reluctant to stand up and tell the emperor he wears no clothes' Sunday shows preview: Biden transition, COVID-19 spike in spotlight MORE (R-Calif.) as a "bumbling, sloppy, dishonest mess" over his defense of President TrumpDonald John TrumpVenezuela judge orders prison time for 6 American oil executives Trump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation MORE in light of revelations about Trump's dealings with Ukraine. 

"It’s wild to me how people crawled over my 60 mins interview with a fine-toothed comb to find any word or reason to claim I’m unfit for the job, yet here Kevin McCarthy (the GOP Leader!) is a bumbling, sloppy, dishonest mess & his mediocrity is accepted as a matter of course," Ocasio-Cortez said on Twitter after CBS's "60 Minutes" aired an interview from its sit-down with McCarthy. 

In the interview, McCarthy repeatedly dismissed questions from CBS anchor Scott Pelley on the significance of Trump's interactions with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. 

A White House memorandum released last week confirmed that Trump asked Zelensky to work with his personal attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiEx-Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell files lawsuits in Michigan, Georgia Trump set for precedent-breaking lame-duck period As Biden administration ramps up, Trump legal effort drags on MORE and Attorney General William BarrBill BarrClyburn: Biden falling short on naming Black figures to top posts Five federal inmates scheduled for execution before Inauguration Day Redeeming justice: the next attorney general MORE to investigate 2020 presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation US records 2,300 COVID-19 deaths as pandemic rises with holidays MORE and his son Hunter Biden over unsubstantiated allegations of corruption. 

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The memo also showed that Trump asked Zelensky for a "favor" after the Ukrainian president asked about buying U.S. anti-tank missiles.

Asked about that specific portion of the memo, McCarthy claimed Pelley had distorted the text. 

"You just added another word," McCarthy claimed, prompting Pelley to reply that Trump's comments about a "favor" were in the transcript. 

McCarthy then went on to argue that Trump's military aid included weapons former President Obama would not sell to the nation.

"When I read the transcript, President Zelensky brings up a Javelin is a protection for anti-tank, something that President Obama would not sell that President Trump did to protect the Ukraine," he said. 

The GOP leader later dismissed House Democrats' formal impeachment inquiry, claiming that the inquiry would not have been launched if lawmakers had waited for the release of the transcript. 

"We vote on important things every day," McCarthy said. "But there are certain votes that are different than others. Sending men and women off to war is the most difficult vote any member of Congress would ever make."

Pelley pivoted the discussion back to impeachment before eventually pressing McCarthy on whether he felt it was appropriate for Trump to ask a foreign nation for dirt on a political opponent. 

"The president did nothing in this phone call that’s impeachable," McCarthy said. 

In addition to Ocasio-Cortez, Independent Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.) denounced McCarthy following the interview. 

"Kevin McCarthy again displays his unique brand of incompetence and dishonesty," Amash, who formally left the Republican Party earlier this year after voicing support for impeachment, said in a tweet.

McCarthy and other Republican lawmakers have vociferously defended Trump in the wake of a whistleblower complaint that led to a formal impeachment inquiry in the House. 

Following Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGovernors take heat for violating their own coronavirus restrictions Spending deal clears obstacle in shutdown fight Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz trade jabs over COVID-19 relief: People 'going hungry as you tweet from' vacation MORE's (D-Calif.) announcement last week, the House minority leader claimed the inquiry was being launched due to Democrats' anger over the 2016 election. 

“The election is over. I realize 2016 did not turn out the way Speaker Pelosi wanted it to happen, but she cannot change the laws of this Congress,” he said. “It's time to put the public before politics.”