Kevin McCarthy hits out at CNN in testy exchange over his refusal to testify in January 6 probe

·3-min read
Kevin McCarthy   (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Kevin McCarthy (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Kevin McCarthy mocked CNN after one of the network’s reporters asked if the House Minority Leader was covering up his role in the US Capitol riot.

CNN"s chief congressional correspondent Manu Raju asked Mr McCarthy why the public shouldn’t conclude he was trying to "hide something" and prevent the "facts from coming out".

Mr McCarthy, who has rejected a January 6 select committee’s request for information, fired back it was a "great question", but before answering added in a knock on Mr Raju’s network

"I hope that everything gets corrected at CNN, work through all that with the, your employees," Mr McCarthy said.

CNN is facing several scandals with its news staff beyond the sexual assault allegations against Don Lemon, which he denies, and the high-profile firing of primetime anchor Chris Cuomo for helping his brother, former Governor Andrew Cuomo, defend against sexual harassment allegations pf his own.

The network also fired John Griffin, a veteran producer who had previously worked with Cuomo, after a federal grand jury in Vermont indicted him for allegedly attempting to “induce minors to engage in unlawful sexual activity,” according to the Justice Department.

Rick Saleeby, a top producer for Jake Tapper, resigned after he was arrested as part of an investigation into "serious allegations involving potential juvenile victims".

Mr McCarthy’s apparent jab at Mr Raju’s former colleagues was left hanging as he detailed his refusal to voluntarily provide information to the 6 January committee.

"After January 6th, you can state this, who was the first person to offer a bipartisan commission to look at that day? Was it me? I’ll help you, the answer is yes,’ he quipped.

"Nancy Pelosi waited four months, in that time period as we came here and discussed many times, you were here you would ask me many questions," he added. "You watched it unfold and unfold how she would prepare who could have a subpoena power, who could have the scope, continuing to fight it all along the way that we now found, she just played politics while the Senate had two committees, bi-partisan, look at what happened on January 6."

Mr Raju’s questioning of whether the refusal to comply with the committee amounted to a coverup reflects similar criticisms by Rep Liz Cheney, one of only two Republicans on the committee.

“He’s clearly trying to cover up what happened. He has an obligation to come forward and we’ll get to the truth,” she told CNN.

The select committee specifically is requesting Mr McCarthy provide information about his communications with Donald Trump before, during and after the attack on the Capitol.

Before calling on the CNN reporter, Mr McCarthy asked about the network’s failing ratings, according to Mediaite.

“Sir how is CNN doing? Are you guys okay? Good. All right,” he said.

CNN’s ratings dropped 90 per cent overall and in the most advertiser-friendly demographic in the first week of 2022, with Nielsen ratings reporting an average of 548,000 viewers compared to almost nearly 2.7 million in 2021.

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