House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) may have thought that he would have an easy time during his Sunday morning interview on Fox News today.
After all, the cable news outlet that is the home of the right-wing’s most prolific conspiracy theorists and white nationalist slogan regurgitators is a second home for most Republican politicians intent on raising their public profiles and securing their reputations among the MAGA-hatted crowd.
Unfortunately for Congressman McCarthy, however, he was appearing on Fox News Sunday, whose host, Chris Wallace, is one of the few real journalists left on the network that has largely abandoned any semblance of journalistic integrity in favor of fear-mongering social engineering from its cadre of activist right-wing, politically-opinionated talking heads for whom no morsel of truth remains untwisted.
Wallace backed Minority Leader McCarthy into a corner this morning by questioning him about a phone call that the California GOP congressional leader reportedly held with former President Trump as a mob of angry and violent insurrectionists invaded the Capitol building intent on disrupting the confirmation of the electoral vote that would usher the failed Republican commander-in-chief out of the White House.
According to an account of the call from Rep. Herrera Beutler (R-WA) — one of the few GOP legislators to vote in favor of Trump’s second impeachment and someone who was briefed on the call’s content — when Rep. McCarthy called Trump in the middle of the rapidly deteriorating incursion that conversation devolved into a shouting match in which the ex-president told the congressional leader:
“Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.”
Wallace asked McCarthy whether the anti-Trump Republican’s accusation about the former president’s response was true.
“Is she right?” Wallace queried. “Is that what President Trump said to you?”
Looking exceedingly uncomfortable, the California GOP House Leader tried to evade the question.
“What he ended the call, was saying — telling me he’ll put something out to make sure to stop this [insurrection],” McCarthy replied. “And that’s what he did. He put a video out later.”
That answer apparently wasn’t convincing enough for the Fox News host, so he pressed McCarthy further.
“Quite a lot later,” Wallace pointedly noted. “And it was a pretty weak video. But I’m asking you specifically. Did he say to you, some people are more concerned about the election than you are?”
At this point, the House Minority Leader went into full damage control mode.
“No, listen,” McCarthy responded. “My conversations with the president are my conversations with the president. I engaged in the idea of making sure we could stop what was going on inside the Capitol at that moment in time. The president said he would help.”
Wallace was like a bulldog hanging onto a bone as he continued to probe the GOP politician over his exchange with Trump on the afternoon of January 6th.
“Has the president ever reached out to you since that report came out to discuss what you and he talked about in the January 6th phone call? And did you say to him, ‘I can’t because we’re under oath’?” Wallace continued his questioning.
“No,” McCarthy replied.
“That never happened?” Wallace tried to confirm.
“That’s never happened,” McCarthy said insistantly. “Never even close.”
The Fox News Sunday host revealed the motivation for his probing with his next question.
“And if it did happen, you would agree that would be witness tampering?” Wallace asked.
McCarthy was not about to let himself be tricked into incriminating the man who still has the loyalty of so many Republican voters bamboozled by Trump’s litany of “stolen election” lies.
“Yeah, but it never happened!” McCarthy said. “Never even came close, never had any conversation like that.”
In the absence of an audio recording of the conversation, one has to rely on one’s perception of the truthfulness of the people involved in the call and those with whom they discussed the exchange immediately after it happened.
One also must evaluate the trustworthiness of those recounting the story and their potential motivations for either telling the truth or obfuscating in order to protect themselves or someone of importance.
You can watch an excerpt of Chris Wallace’s interview with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in the video clip below and decide for yourself whether the California Congressman is to be believed or is playing his part in a desperate cover-up.
Original reporting by David Edwards at RawStory.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.