House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has voiced his strong support for former President Trump, stating he believes the former President couldn't be criminally liable for the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
According to the Hill, McCarthy openly defended Trump's actions surrounding the unfortunate incident on Capitol Hill. He argued that Trump encouraged a peaceful protest and engaged in no criminal activity on that fateful day.
McCarthy told reporters on Wednesday,
"What criminal activity did he (Trump) do? He told people to be peaceful. I don't see how he could be found criminally responsible."
He expressed these views after it was revealed that the former President is under criminal investigation by the Justice Department for the Capitol attack.
The issuing of a so-called target letter typically indicates that a formal indictment may be on the horizon.
Interestingly, McCarthy's staunch defense of Trump marks a change from his initial stance.
Following the Capitol attack, he held Trump accountable, stating that the former President "bears responsibility" for the actions of the rioters.
McCarthy shared that he talked with Trump on Tuesday receiving a call initiated by the former president.
The speaker indicated that the nature of their discussion was consistent with their typical exchanges, as they converse "on a regular basis."
Despite this, he hinted that Trump expressed feelings of frustration due to the delivery of the target letter. He said,
"The conversation wasn’t anything different than the time before."
The House Speaker rejected the notion that his call with Trump was a strategic move to unite Republicans against the possible indictment of Trump.
Instead, he accused the Biden administration of engaging in such strategy sessions to target political opponents.
McCarthy further suggested that increasing popularity in polls was linked with a higher chance of being indicted. He said,
"If you go up in the polls, you're more likely to get indicted."
This sentiment was also echoed by House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik. She decried the criminal investigation against Trump as an example of "illegal weaponization" of the Department of Justice against Biden's top political opponent.
In a bold move, both McCarthy and Stefanik shifted the focus of alleged criminal activity towards Hunter Biden, Joe Biden's son.
They accused DOJ prosecutors of delaying an investigation into him, based on testimonies by IRS whistleblowers in a House Republicans hearing. Both of them suggested that the real criminal conspiracy lies in Hunter Biden case, not with anything Trump did surrounding Jan. 6.
McCarthy also warned that he would consider launching an impeachment inquiry against Attorney General Merrick Garland if he found that Garland had lied to Congress, Senate, and the American public.
McCarthy's defense of Trump sharply contrasts with the silence from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
When asked about Trump's situation, McConnell declined to comment, citing the former President's reelection campaign.
This follows a pattern established by McConnell post Trump's impeachment trial, where he has remained silent on matters involving the former President.
Speaking to the media, McConnell said,
“I’ve said every week out here that I’m not going to comment on the various candidates for the presidency. How I felt about that I expressed at the time, but I’m not going to start getting into sort of critiquing the various candidates for president."