“Kevin McCarthy will be meeting with me this afternoon at Trump National in Bedminster, N.J. Much to discuss!” Trump announced in a statement Thursday.
According to a GOP source familiar with the meeting, McCarthy will sit down with Trump at his New Jersey golf club to discuss upcoming special elections, vulnerable Democrats in 2022 and the GOP’s record-breaking fundraising numbers. But the announcement of the meeting comes the day after the select committee investigating the Capitol riot said that it will hold its first public hearing on July 27, essentially setting a deadline for McCarthy to make his picks as to who will represent the GOP on the commission. Sources tell CNN that McCarthy intends to announce his selections before the first hearing.
McCarthy’s trip to Bedminster also coincides with a series of new revelations this week surrounding Trump’s final days in office that describe the former President’s increasingly defiant and belligerent behavior in refusing to concede his 2020 election loss.
McCarthy is expected to return to Washington following the meeting for a dinner at the White House on Thursday evening honoring German Chancellor Angela Merkel. McCarthy’s office confirms the House minority leader will attend the dinner.
McCarthy can appoint five members of the committee that will investigate the insurrection, which was perpetrated by Trump’s supporters and came hours after the former President held a rally encouraging his followers to fight Congress’ certification of President Joe Biden’s victory.
The timing of the Trump meeting shows McCarthy remains loyal to the former President. Sources say his picks for the committee will likely be supporters and defenders of Trump. It is expected that the GOP leader will avoid controversial firebrands like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia or Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, in part because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reserves the right to veto any of McCarthy’s picks.
Still, McCarthy has the option of finding Republican members who will defend Trump and his supporters in what is expected to be a bitter partisan fight, while at the same time remaining loyal to him.
McCarthy himself could be emerge as a key figure in the committee’s investigation. The chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson, has not ruled out calling McCarthy before the committee to discuss the phone call he made to Trump as rioters stormed the Capitol begging the then-President to tell his supporters to go home.
McCarthy has said he is willing to testify and discuss Trump’s role on January 6 if asked.
A series of books — Michael Bender’s “Frankly We Did Win This Election” and Michael Wolff’s “Landslide” both just came out, and “I Alone Can Fix It” by Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker is scheduled to be released next week. All three help paint a picture of the chaotic White House in its final months of Trump’s presidency leading up to the insurrection in January.
In one example, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley, was so shaken by Trump’s refusal to concede that he worried he might attempt some sort of illegal gambit to stay in power.
“They may try, but they’re not going to f**king succeed,” Milley told his deputies, according to excerpts of the book “I Alone Can Fix It” obtained by CNN.
McCarthy previously met with Trump in Mar-a-lago on January 27, after initially being critical of the former President’s handling of the January 6 insurrection.
McCarthy has since joined many members of his conference in trying to move on and downplay the insurrection and its aftermath. He has opposed forming an independent commission to probe January 6, and CNN reported earlier this month that, according to two GOP sources with knowledge of the matter, he threatened to strip committee assignments from Republicans who accepted Pelosi’s invitation to serve on the select committee.
This story has been updated with additional developments Thursday.
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