House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy has said he does not remember speaking with former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson during the January 6 attack on the Capitol, despite her sworn testimony attesting to the conversation.
Mr McCarthy was asked during his weekly press conference on Friday if he told her not to allow then-president Donald Trump to follow through on his promise to accompany a riotous mob of his supporters to march to the US Capitol to pressure Congress not to certify Mr Trump’s 2020 election loss to Joe Biden.
During a hearing before the House January 6 select committee on 28 June, Ms Hutchinson testified that she recieved a “rushed, but also frustrated and angry” phone call from Mr McCarthy just after Mr Trump told his supporters he would be “with [them]” on the way to the Capitol, where the House and Senate were convening in joint session to count the electoral votes that would finalise Mr Trump’s defeat.
“You told me this whole week you aren’t coming up here. Why would you lie to me?” he said, according to Ms Hutchinson.
After she told him in response that Mr Trump was not going to the Capitol, Ms Hutchinson said Mr McCarthy replied: “Well, he just said it on stage, Cassidy. Figure it out”.
But under questioning from reporters on Friday, Mr McCarthy now says he cannot recall speaking with her.
“I don’t recall talking to her that day … if I talked to her, I don’t remember it. If it was coming up here, I don’t think I wanted a lot of people coming up to the Capitol. But I don’t remember the conversation,” he said.
Mr McCarthy then denied having watched Mr Trump’s speech that day, despite Ms Hutchinson’s testimony that he called her in response to the speech.
“I didn’t watch the speech. I was working. So I didn’t see what was said. I didn’t see what went on untill after the fact,” he said.
He added that he did not remember “having any conversations with her about coming to the Capitol”.