'It's a Ridiculous Statement': Rep. Zoe Lofgren Assesses Rep. Kevin McCarthy's Call to Investigate Jan. 6 Committee

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An older white woman with a blue suit dress and wearing glasses.
US Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) is seen during a hearing by the House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol in the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, DC, on Oct. 13, 2022. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

California U.S. Rep. and House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is preparing for a GOP investigation into the special committee probing the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol last year.

With Republicans due to take control of the House in January, the move by McCarthy is being interpreted by some analysts as a campaign ploy to win over far-right GOP members in his bid to become House speaker.

KQED's Tara Siler recently spoke with South Bay U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, who sits on the Jan. 6 committee, about what the committee's next move will be and what Rep. McCarthy's call for a probe may mean.

TARA SILER: Kevin McCarthy says the GOP plans to investigate the committee and its work. What do you think that means exactly?

ZOE LOFGREN: I think he means to appeal to his QAnon member base in the Republican side of the aisle so he can be elected speaker. I have no idea what his intention is, because we are going to make public all of the committee records, all of the evidence that we have developed — all the interviews, all the emails we've intercepted, the text messages from witnesses, the radio traffic we've got from the day, various teams' messages from the Secret Service, all the evidence that we've got.

And would publicizing any of that information interfere at all in the investigation by the Department of Justice or the special counsel in terms of potential charges?

We hope not, but we have an obligation in several ways. First, we have an obligation to the public. We have engaged in this investigation on behalf of the public and we feel that we owe them the evidence that we've compiled. Secondly, Mr. McCarthy has indicated that they're going to do some kind of "investigation." Well, we know what they do. I've served with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) on the Judiciary Committee. They selectively edit, they distort, they spin. Well, they're not going to be able to do that if we've actually provided all of the evidence. They won't be able to spin it and distort it. So that's important as well.

Do you expect to make criminal referrals to the Justice Department?

We haven't finished that discussion. We had a very long and productive meeting, buttoning up the report and accompanying materials — not quite done, but close. And we're going to continue the discussion on remedies for further referrals and the like, which will be done soon, but are not done yet.

We’ve heard there are some disagreements about the committee’s final report, that it will focus heavily on Donald Trump.

That's incorrect. Apparently there were some disgruntled staff who didn't know what the committee was doing. Some of the drafts prepared by some of the staff were completely untethered from the committee evidence. Every member of the committee is committed to reporting on the evidence we have found, not random opinions of others. In terms of the evidence we have found, there's no disagreement among any of the members on that.

So it will cover issues like white nationalism and security failures?

Sure.

Why do you think McCarthy is doing this? Is this just a move by McCarthy to garner more support from the far-right members of his caucus?

I think that's the obvious explanation. I don't know why else he would say "preserve your committee records." We've already said publicly that we're going to publish the committee records. It's a ridiculous statement, and the only possible reason I can come up with is that he's trying to appeal to the farthest-right regions of his Republican membership.

And that's required by law anyway (preserving the committee records), isn't it?

Yes. We are supposed to preserve the committee records, and we will preserve the committee records. That's never been in question.

I know Democrats will be in the minority come January, but do you have any opinion or sense of where the speakership is headed, given McCarthy doesn’t seem to have the 218 votes he needs to be voted in, at least not at this stage?

Well, I don't know. I've learnt never to try and predict what Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) will do. From public statements by some of the Republican members, it looks like Mr. McCarthy doesn't have the necessary votes to become speaker. Whether he has the political skills to put that together is unknown. He hasn't shown a high level of skill in the past. So we'll see. And if he can't put it together, who's next? I don't know. The interesting thing is that their narrow majority isn't a lot narrower than the narrow majority that we have had, but Nancy Pelosi is the most effective speaker probably in the history of the country, and although it was not always easy, she was always able to move the Democratic Caucus forward. We'll see if Mr. McCarthy has that kind of skill.

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