As Jan. 6 committee targets Trump, his consternation at McCarthy grows

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On the morning the House Jan. 6 committee held its second public hearing, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was across town, echoing an instruction he has repeatedly given fellow Republicans: Ignore it.

Speaking to donors gathered at the Georgetown Four Seasons, McCarthy instead recommended Republicans talk about other issues that could help them regain the majority in both chambers of Congress, according to people familiar with the meeting, such as the soaring inflation rate and record-high gas prices — all under Democrats watch.

While most rank-and-file members in the Republican House conference have heeded his direction, another influential Republican has tuned into every hearing and has grown increasingly irate — to “the point of about to scream at the TV,” according to a close adviser — with what he views as the lack of defense by his Capitol Hill allies.

Former president Donald Trump has said privately for months that McCarthy’s decision to pull pro-Trump Republicans from sitting on the Jan. 6 select committee was a mistake, one that has become clearer as Trump watches the hearings that are working to build the case that he should be criminally charged for conspiring to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

According to a close adviser, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to detail private conversations, Trump has made it clear to anyone who will listen that “there’s no one to defend me” on the dias before, during or after the hearings. The blame is falling squarely on McCarthy’s shoulders, according to some Republican congressional aides and advisers close to the former president.

Justice Dept. expands Jan. 6 probe with fresh subpoenas

Several Trump advisers said they were particularly frustrated they had no insight into the committee’s discussions, plans and divisions so they could better prepare for what was coming.

McCarthy’s bet to exclude the pro-Trump GOP perspective from the investigative committee could prove costly as he works to secure Trump’s support for his eventual speakership bid if the GOP regains the House majority. While most in the conference have brushed off Trump’s anger, any brash reaction from him could inflame his allies in the GOP conference who have remained noncommittal on whether they would vote for McCarthy to be the top leader — a small but significant group who could quickly jeopardize his chances.

McCarthy has acknowledged his ascension to the speakership is not assured without the support of Trump’s base. According to a person familiar with the discussions, he has approached Stephen K. Bannon in recent months to stop him from pushing the idea of Trump being speaker.

McCarthy allies argue he had no other option but to pull Republicans from the committee after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s move to bar Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Jim Banks (R-Ind.) from being seated on the panel because they could be called as witnesses by the committee. McCarthy also tapped GOP Reps. Troy E. Nehls (Tex.), Rodney Davis (Ill.), and Kelly Armstrong (N.D.) to participate, choices that Pelosi (D-Calif.) approved.

Trump has…

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