House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) says he knows who recorded him in a phone call with GOP colleagues last year when he criticized former President Trump for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, rioting at the Capitol.
McCarthy also told Politico that he would, at some point, present his findings about the mysterious recorder.
“I know who recorded it. I know who recorded me,” he told the publication. “I’ll bring it forward. I have it.”
McCarthy did not divulge any further details.
The audio recording was first leaked by The New York Times in April for a then-upcoming book from Times reporters.
In the Jan. 10, 2021, conference call with House GOP colleagues, McCarthy said he would recommend Trump resign because the Democratic-controlled House was moving to impeach him for the Capitol attack.
“The only discussion I would have with him is that I think this will pass, and it would be my recommendation you should resign,” McCarthy said in response to a question from Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) on what Trump would do at the time. “I mean, that would be my take but I don’t think he would take it. But I don’t know.”
Additional leaked recordings of the call revealed McCarthy saying he was fed up with Trump and that the situation after Jan. 6 was “not great.”
“I’ve had it with this guy. What he did is unacceptable. Nobody can defend that, and nobody should defend it,” the minority leader said.
In a larger call with Republican colleagues, McCarthy went even further.
“But let me be very clear to all of you, and I’ve been very clear to the president: He bears responsibility for his words and actions,” the GOP leader said. “No ifs, ands or buts. I asked him personally today, does he hold responsibility for what happened? Does he feel bad about what happened?”
McCarthy had originally denied the reporting from the Times back in April, calling it “totally false and wrong” in a statement.
After the leak, Trump — who has ferociously gone after any GOP dissenters and challengers — said he “didn’t like the call” but later repaired his relationship with McCarthy because the California Republican and other colleagues ultimately sided with him.
Trump endorsed McCarthy in his primary battle this year, calling him “strong and fearless.”