McCarthy says he won't cooperate with 'illegitimate' Jan. 6 probe

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyHouse Republicans bash Democrats' China competition bill Press: Newt says lock 'em up – for doing their job!  The Hill's Morning Report - Biden, NATO eye 'all scenarios' with Russia MORE (R-Calif.) said Wednesday evening that he will not cooperate with the select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, asserting the panel "is not conducting a legitimate investigation."

McCarthy, in a statement released hours after the committee asked him to voluntarily cooperate with its probe, maintained that the "illegitimate" panel was seeking to interview him about “private conversations not remotely related to the violence that unfolded at the Capitol.”

The panel noted in its letter to McCarthy earlier Wednesday, however, that the GOP leader previously acknowledged speaking with former President TrumpDonald TrumpNorth Korea conducts potential 6th missile test in a month Kemp leading Perdue in Georgia gubernatorial primary: poll US ranked 27th least corrupt country in the world MORE as the attack on the Capitol was underway.

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McCarthy in his statement Wednesday night knocked the committee for subpoenas it has issued and criticized lawmakers for holding individuals in contempt of Congress.

He also slammed House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse Republicans bash Democrats' China competition bill Man seen wearing 'Camp Auschwitz' sweatshirt on Jan. 6 pleads guilty to trespassing Democrats should ignore Senators Manchin and Sinema MORE (D-Calif.) for rejecting two of his nominees to the Jan. 6 committee last year — GOP Reps. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanReps ask Capitol Police Board for information on 'insider threat awareness program' Are the legal walls closing in on Donald Trump? Biden: A good coach knows when to change up the team MORE (Ohio) and Jim Banks (Ind.) — writing that the panel is "not serving any legislative purpose."

Pelosi rejected the two GOP picks in July after Democrats raised objections to the Trump allies being on the panel, citing concerns over "the impact their appointments may have on the integrity of the investigation." She later appointed Reps. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyRomney participating in fundraiser for Liz Cheney The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden faces Ukraine decision amid Russia aggression Cheney hits Gingrich for saying Jan. 6 panel members may be jailed MORE (Wyo.) and Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerHouse Republicans bash Democrats' China competition bill Romney participating in fundraiser for Liz Cheney Cheney hits Gingrich for saying Jan. 6 panel members may be jailed MORE (Ill.), two GOP critics of Trump, to the committee.

“As a representative and the leader of the minority party, it is with neither regret nor satisfaction that I have concluded to not participate with this select committee’s abuse of power that stains this institution today and will harm it going forward,” McCarthy said Wednesday.

The Jan. 6 select committee sent a letter to McCarthy on Wednesday asking that he disclose information regarding his communications with former President Trump “before, during and after the violent Jan. 6 attack.”

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The letter cited reporting from various outlets detailing the phone call McCarthy had with Trump during the riot, a conversation that the minority leader has publicly recognized.

Select Committee Chairman Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonJan. 6 panel's subpoena furthers complications for Rudy Giuliani, DOJ Alex Jones says he invoked Fifth Amendment 'almost 100 times' before Jan. 6 panel Democrats ask for information on specialized Border Patrol teams MORE (D-Miss.) said the reporting he outlined “bears directly on President Trump’s state of mind during the January 6th attack as the violence was underway.”

McCarthy’s statement comes after two other GOP members of Congress refused to cooperate with the Jan. 6 committee’s probe. The panel sent similar, voluntary requests to Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Scott PerryScott Gordon PerryHouse has the power to subpoena its members — but does it have the will? Jan. 6 committee asks Ivanka Trump to sit for interview GOP's McCarthy has little incentive to work with Jan. 6 panel MORE (R-Pa.), both of whom declined to cooperate.

The committee has yet to issue a subpoena to a sitting lawmaker. The panel has also asked Fox News host Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityBiden frustration with Fox News breaks through surface Briefing in brief: US commitment to NATO 'ironclad' CNN's Acosta on Doocy and Biden: 'We never got an apology' from Trump MORE to voluntarily cooperate. Thompson said the committee is planning on issuing a similar invitation to former Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceBest path to Jan. 6 accountability: A civil suit against Trump Biden trails generic Republican in new poll, would face tight race against Trump Jan. 6 panel's subpoena furthers complications for Rudy Giuliani, DOJ MORE by the end of the month.

Thompson also said the panel is interested in knowing about communications McCarthy may have had with Trump, the president’s legal team, Jordan and others regarding his decision to continue objecting to election results after the Capitol building had been cleared of rioters.

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Thompson also noted that McCarthy’s public statements regarding Jan. 6 “changed markedly” since he met with Trump at Mar-a-Lago in January after the former president had departed office. Days after the riot, Thompson noted, McCarthy had said Trump bore responsibility for the incident, and said he should have immediately denounced the protesters.

"At that meeting, or at any other time, did President Trump or his representatives discuss or suggest what you should say publicly, during the impeachment trial (if called as a witness), or in any later investigation about your conversations with him on January 6th?” Thompson asked.

Updated at 10:08 p.m.