Speaker McCarthy denies Trump phone call was 'strategy session' about January 6 indictment

 July 20, 2023

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is denying that a Tuesday phone call with former President Donald Trump was a strategy session to figure out how to best handle an apparent third Trump indictment, this one over the events of January 6, 2021 when thousands of purported Trump supporters breached the Capitol building for a few hours.

"No, no, there was no strategy session about a possible indictment," the speaker said in between laughs. "I think the strategy sessions happen in the Democrats' Department of Justice where they go after anybody who is running against the president. It seems as though the more you go up in the polls, the more likely you are to get indicted."

McCarthy did say that he talks to Trump daily and that the former president was "frustrated" over the indictments.

“Wouldn’t you feel frustrated?” McCarthy said.

"He told people to be peaceful"

McCarthy has been staunch in his support of Trump, and said Wednesday that he doesn't see a basis for an indictment over January 6.

“I don’t see how he could be found criminally responsible,” McCarthy told reporters Wednesday in the Capitol. “What criminal activity did he do? He told people to be peaceful.”

But that didn't stop special counsel Jack Smith from sending Trump a letter this week that he would have four days to appear if he wanted to testify before a grand jury over the events of January 6.

Such a letter is usually an indication that an indictment is forthcoming. Trump is not expected to testify before the grand jury, and may be indicted as soon as next week.

A vote to expunge impeachments

Politico reported Thursday that a House vote to expunge the two previous impeachments of Trump may be coming soon. According to its sources, McCarthy promised such a vote after refusing to endorse Trump as the 2024 GOP nominee during an interview last month.

The refusal angered Trump and threatened the relationship between the two, even though McCarthy said he would likely endorse Trump in the future.

McCarthy felt a responsibility to remain neutral at this stage of the race to avoid boxing in a few of his more moderate House members, Politico said.

Which of course is exactly what Trump wanted him to do.

Whether or not the promised vote will happen is anyone's guess--McCarthy has denied altogether that he even made the promise.

Some in his caucus like Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) are calling for it, though, so it may only be a matter of time before the House has to deal with it.

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