April 21, 2022

Rachel Maddow dug into the last time Kevin McCarthy lied about something that was disproved by an audio tape (the infamous 'I think Putin pays Trump' conversation) -- by way of leading into the next one.

You may have seen the story in the New York Times that Kevin McCarthy told GOP leadership that he was going to try to get Trump to resign before he was impeached. But when the story ran Thursday, McCarthy's office released a statement denying it.

Maddow started the segment with an excerpt from Times reporters Jonathan Martin's and Alex Burns' new book:

He conferred for more than 45 minutes with Steve Scalise, Liz Cheney, and Tom Amr, the Minnesota congressman who led the Republicans' campaign committee. The usually upbeat McCarthy was audibly anguished. The gravity of the attack was still sinking in, and it seemed increasingly clear to him that he had to break with Trump, it was finally time to end their alliance. His plan, McCarthy said, was to approach President Trump, and tell him it was inevitable that Congress would impeach him, and it's time for him to go. He envisioned telling Trump about an impeachment resolution. Quote, 'I think this will pass. And it would be my recommendation, you should resign. I think this will pass, meaning the impeachment resolution will pass, meaning you will be impeached. Quote, it would be my recommendation that you should resign. McCarthy said near the end of the call, quote, 'I've had it with this guy. What he did was unacceptable, nobody can defend that, and nobody should defend it.'

"Now, it is one thing to know that Kevin McCarthy once felt that way, and once told his colleagues that he intended to do those things that he describes," Maddow said.

"And of course, now, you can slide a sheet of paper between him and Trump, he decided to just jettison those apparently principled concerns, and pledged his loyalty to Trump once again. That is one thing, it tells you something about Mr. McCarthy. In their new book, Mr. Martin and Mr. Burns call it, simply, surrender by Mr. McCarthy, that's the word they use.

"But you know, it's another thing entirely for him to deny that this all happened, when in fact it happened. In a statement to the New York Times, earlier today, a spokesman for Kevin McCarthy issued a flat denial that McCarthy ever said that he would push Trump to resign. That spokesman said, quote, 'McCarthy never said he called Trump to tell him he should resign. McCarthy never said he'd call Trump to say he should resign. To further clarify, we should also note that NBC News reached out to the congressman's office following that statement, specifically ask and again in drilling down on the question of whether or not Mr. McCarthy said he would push President Trump to resign.

"His spokesman responded, saying, quote, 'No, he did not. Leader McCarthy also issued a statement himself, today, saying in part, 'the New York Times reporting on me is totally false and wrong.' The problem with these denials from Mr. McCarthy and his office, is that we have now obtained audio of that January 10th phone call that Leader McCarthy held with other top Republicans, in which he in fact said, he is going to call Trump and tell him that he must resign."

Maddow then ran the recording of the conference call.

CHENEY: Yeah I'm here, thanks Kevin. I guess there is a question, when we are talking about the 25th Amendment resolution. and you asked if, you know, what happens if -- is there any chance, are you hearing that he might resign, is there any reason to think that might happen?

McCARTHY: I had a few discussions. My gut tells me no, I'm seriously thinking of having that conversation with him tonight. I haven't talked to him in a couple of days. From what I know of him, I mean you guys know him too, do you think he'd ever back away? But I think I'm going to do is, I'm going to call him. This is what I think, we know it'll pass the House. I think there's a chance it'll pass the Senate, even when he is gone. And I think there's a lot of different ramifications for that. Now, I haven't had a discussion with the Dems, that if he did resign, what would happen?

Now, this is one personal fear I have. I do not want to get into any conversation about Pence pardoning. Again, the only discussion I would have with him is that, I think this will pass. And it will be my recommendation you should resign. I mean, that would be my take. But I don't think he would take it. But I don't know.

" 'The discussion I would have with him is that I think this will pass, meaning the impeachment resolution will pass, and it would be my recommendation that he should resign. That would be my take. It would be my recommendation that Mr. President, you should resign.' That is what Kevin McCarthy told other House Republicans, on January 10th, 2021, that he was going to call President Trump and tell him the impeachment was going to pass, and he needed to resign. Mr. McCarthy flat out and categorically denied that today. He denied he said he would tell President Trump to resign."

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