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HEADLINE ROUNDUP: House GOP Investigations Are Just Another Part of Kevin McCarthy’s “Counterproductive and Vindictive Agenda.”

Dec 2, 2022

Kevin McCarthy, setting up to be the next Speaker of the House of Representatives, is focused on one thing and one thing only – politically motivated investigations aimed at President Biden and his administration in order to hurt them and help himself and his MAGA Republican allies. They are embarking on a “path of pettiness” to frivolously target their political opponents and shield extremists like Trump from accountability. Kevin McCarthy and his MAGA Republican cronies only care about scoring political points while ignoring the concerns of the vast majority of Americans. 

The Capitol Times (Opinion): Kevin McCarthy Extends Middle Finger To Notion Of Working Together.  “We got a glimpse this week at how these modern-day Republicans are going to do everything but govern when they take over the House of Representatives in January. When President Joe Biden met with House and Senate leaders to urge that everyone work together to keep the government open and do more to help Ukraine in its deadly battle with the Russians, the apparent new House speaker, Kevin McCarthy, was his usual blustery self. Things are going to be different is all the California Republican and Donald Trump today could reply, signaling that the GOP, even with the slimmest of a majority, isn’t interested in any “working together” nonsense. […] These are the people whom voters have entrusted to work on issues like the climate crisis, inflation, the future of Social Security and Medicare, education, child care and dozens of other vital concerns that need to be addressed. But along with the likes of the surly Jim Jordan of Ohio and the creepy congressman from Florida, Matt Gaetz, they will be working overtime to throw sand into the gears of government to make a point, whatever in the world that is.”  [The Capitol Times, 12/2/22]

San Francisco Chronicle (Podcast): Ex-GOP Rep.: McCarthy ‘Drunk On His Own Bathwater’. “[Joe Garofoli:] ‘Let’s talk a little bit about Kevin McCarthy…you work with him in the House. What are his strengths and what are his weaknesses?” [Former Rep. Denver Riggleman:] ‘First of all, I mean, he’s a guy who’s easily drunk on his own bath water right? […] His strength is that everything McCarthy does is based on polling and how it all affects fundraising. ​​That’s it. So there’s no morals or straight line, no moral compass. Whether it’s the right thing for the country doesn’t matter…he’ll say different things to different people to get him to go along with his side and he tries to glue that together. […] [For example], if the polling says that Trump is liked by 70% of the electorate…he’s belly-crawling to Mar-a-Lago to lick the boots of Trump right there.’” [San Francisco Chronicle, 12/2/22]

New York Times (Opinion): The Republicans’ Agenda for Their House Majority: ‘A Path of Pettiness’.  “House Republicans, newly emboldened by the majority they barely achieved in the recent midterm elections, have wasted no time in enthusiastically embracing a counterproductive and vindictive agenda, frivolously targeting the Biden administration, with plans to give high priority to impeachment and investigations of the pandemic, immigration, Afghanistan and the president’s son as soon as the new Congress is sworn in. […] Expending energy and time on investigations and impeachments by vindictive Republicans to score political points is a deliberate distraction from their inability to offer a legislative agenda with real-life benefits.”  [New York Times, 12/1/22]

Politico: Kevin McCarthy Is Demanding The Head Of The Jan. 6 Panel, Bennie Thompson, Preserve All Transcripts And Records From Their Work.  “House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is demanding the head of the Jan. 6 committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), preserve all records and transcripts from its investigation into the attack on the U.S. Capitol. McCarthy is also vowing to hold hearings on “why the Capitol complex was not secure” on Jan. 6, 2021 when Republicans regain the House majority next year. ‘It is imperative that all information collected be preserved not just for institutional prerogatives but for transparency to the American people. The official Congressional Records do not belong to you or any member, but to the American people.’”  [Politico, 11/30/22]

The Washington Post (Opinion): As Pelosi Bows Out, Chaos Enters (Stage Right). “Nancy Pelosi is closing two decades as party leader, and two stints as House speaker, on her own terms. Though her Democrats technically lost their majority, their better-than-expected showing in the midterms felt like a victory. With high-fives and hugs, they elected by acclamation a new generation of leaders this week. House Republicans, meanwhile, are acting as though they lost, bickering among themselves as their leader, Kevin McCarthy, sells his soul to extremists in hopes of eking out enough votes to become speaker. […] As Politico artfully put it: ‘Nobody trusts McCarthy to pass anything (not even McCarthy).’ As many as 20 House Republicans oppose McCarthy for speaker (five of them in categorical terms). If he loses more than a few, the race for speaker could go to a second ballot on the House floor for the first time in a century. So he has been making desperate public warnings to fellow Republicans and offering holdouts whatever they demand. (The latest: a promised investigation of the House’s own Jan. 6 committee.)” [The Washington Post, 12/2/22]

MSNBC: On Jan. 6, Kevin McCarthy Eager To Investigate The Investigation.  “Right off the bat, the politics surrounding such a move are unsubtle: McCarthy, desperate to become House speaker, is struggling to lock down the support he needs from some of his more radical members. The GOP leader realizes that they loathe the bipartisan Jan. 6 panel, its members and its work, so McCarthy very likely targeted the committee this week in the hopes of strengthening his position. It’s also worth appreciating the performative nature of the California congressman’s letter, most notably his demand that the investigators ‘preserve all records.’ As my MSNBC colleague Hayes Brown explained, ‘The subtext is that there is a chance that the committee might hide or destroy some key evidence that shows that it was always meant to be a political weapon against Trump. But the committee was already saving all the documents being produced, as required under the resolution that created it.’ McCarthy has already embraced redundant stunts as part of his desperate appeals to the right, and this is yet another unfortunate element of the same pattern.”  [MSNBC, 12/2/22]

Washington Post (Opinion): Kevin McCarthy Reveals Exactly How The GOP House Will Protect Trump.  “As Republicans prepare to take over the House, they clearly see one of their highest missions as transforming the lower chamber into Donald Trump’s 24/7 personal shield against accountability. They are signaling plans for ‘investigations’ next year designed chiefly to discredit revelations about Trump’s effort to destroy U.S. democracy. […] That could function as a pretext to haul witnesses back for another grilling from Republicans. This would be deliberate spectacle: By publicly flogging witnesses who most damaged Trump, Republicans would provide grist for right-wing media to claim the most damning revelations had been decisively discredited, no matter what the facts show. […] ‘There’s no reason to think they will faithfully examine the transcripts,” Goodman said. “They’ll quite likely selectively use quotes just to create the appearance of contradictions or false statements.’ […] The GOP strategy here is obvious. Yet some news organizations have already begun to describe the coming GOP push as a ‘counter-investigation’ into what the Jan. 6 committee found. That language invests GOP intentions with an aura of seriousness they simply have not earned. If those efforts do reveal themselves as transparent bad-faith smears designed to discredit the committee’s revelations — as seems extraordinarily likely — media accounts shouldn’t describe them with lofty terms such as ‘counter-investigation.’ It will be critical to convey their true intentions to the public with total clarity. We can predict exactly how the GOP House will seek to protect Trump. McCarthy has essentially told us so himself.”  [Washington Post, 12/2/22]

CNN: McCarthy Tries To Boost His Conservative Bona Fides As Pro-Trump Lawmakers Threaten His Speaker Bid. “But two weeks after the elections, where Republicans underperformed and won a slimmer-than-expected majority that has put McCarthy’s House speaker bid at risk, McCarthy struck a different tone: he called on Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to resign, accused him of lying to the American public and not enforcing immigration laws, and threatened to launch an impeachment inquiry if he doesn’t step aside. A Mayorkas spokeswoman said he has no plans to resign. The change in tune from McCarthy comes at a pivotal moment for the California Republican, who is facing a rebellion from his right flank that could tank his speakership ambitions that have been years in the making. McCarthy’s new impeachment threat is one of just several ways that he is hoping to win over conservative critics and lock down the necessary 218 votes to become speaker in January. McCarthy is deploying a carrot-over-stick approach, using a mix of private negotiations and public professions about what he would do as speaker, in an effort to pick off detractors.” [CNN, 11/23/22]