Did Trump Really Take Some Responsibility for Capitol Insurrection on Call with Kevin McCarthy?


President Donald Trump either took “some” responsibility for the Capitol insurrection or was blamed for it by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, depending on whose reporting you believe.

McCarthy held a conference call with members of the lower chamber’s Republican caucus Monday, and according to Politico’s Melanie Zanona, he told those members that Trump accepted some responsibility for last Wednesday’s attack during a personal phone call.

“NEWS: McCarthy tells Republicans on a call just now that Trump told him he does bear some responsibility for the Capitol riots, per source,” Zanona wrote on Twitter Monday, and cited a second source from colleague Olivia Beavers as well.

Nearly simultaneously, however, Punchbowl’s Jake Sherman reported that McCarthy told his conference that Trump “does bear some responsibility for the riot at the capitol, but urged Republicans to be united,” adding “McCarthy is not personally in favor of impeachment.”

But on cross-examination by Twitter personality Yashar Ali, Zanona stuck to her guns.

Zanona’s final reporting cites four lawmakers who were on the call backing up her version. But The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman swooped in to backstop Sherman’s reporting, also citing numerous sources and blaming the confusion on imprecise language by McCarthy:

In either case, the intention appears to have been to talk down members who might be considering impeachment, but the difference is rather significant. If Trump really told McCarthy he takes some responsibility for the attack, that phone call could loom large in any future legal inquiry into the attack.

On the other hand, the ultimate source for all of this is McCarthy, and the common thread from leaks and accounts from his recent calls with Trump is that they are conveniently self-serving. Grains of salt all around are in order.

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