CJR Staff
July 22, 2023

McCarthy Defends Trump: No 'Criminal Activity' on Jan. 6

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy robustly defended former President Donald Trump on Wednesday, asserting there was no "criminal activity" committed by Trump on Jan. 6, 2021.

McCarthy underscored Trump's explicit message for supporters to "be peaceful."

The speaker's comments, delivered at the Capitol, came in response to recent claims that Trump is the subject of a criminal investigation by the Justice Department.

McCarthy Defends Trump

"What criminal activity did he do? He told people to be peaceful," the Californian Republican contested, adding that he fails to see how Trump could be deemed criminally responsible for the events of that day.

In his press briefing, McCarthy also confirmed regular conversations with the former president, dismissing any notion of these calls being "strategy sessions" for handling the DOJ probe. Instead, McCarthy suggested that the real "strategy sessions" happen within the ranks of the Democrats' Department of Justice, which he accused of politically motivated prosecutions, especially against those mounting a challenge against the sitting president.

House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik joined McCarthy's condemnation, attacking what she called the "illegal weaponization" of the DOJ. Stefanik highlighted perceived inconsistencies in the department's approach, aggressively pursuing Trump while allegedly neglecting the investigation into Hunter Biden, a complaint that was validated by two IRS whistleblowers during a recent Capitol Hill hearing.

McCarthy went a step further, warning that he would advocate for an impeachment inquiry against Attorney General Merrick Garland if it was discovered he had deceived not only Congress and the Senate, but also the American public.

These comments highlight the growing frustration among Republicans at what they perceive as partisan bias in the Justice Department."

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