“On the eve of a verdict in Donald J. Trump’s Senate trial, one of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach him confirmed on Friday night that the top House Republican, Representative Kevin McCarthy, told her that the former president had sided with the mob during a phone call as the Jan. 6 Capitol attack unfolded.
In a statement on Friday night, Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler, Republican of Washington, recounted a phone call relayed to her by Mr. McCarthy of California, the minority leader, in which Mr. Trump was said to have sided with the rioters, telling the top House Republican that members of the mob who had stormed the Capitol were “more upset about the election than you are.”
She pleaded with witnesses to step forward and share what they knew about Mr. Trump’s actions and statements as the attack was underway.
“To the patriots who were standing next to the former president as these conversations were happening, or even to the former vice president: if you have something to add here, now would be the time,” Ms. Herrera Beutler said in the statement.
Her account of the call between Mr. McCarthy and Mr. Trump, first reported by CNN, addressed a crucial question in the impeachment trial: what Mr. Trump was doing and saying privately while the Capitol was being overrun.
Ms. Herrera Beutler said that Mr. McCarthy had relayed details of his phone call with Mr. Trump to her. She has been speaking publicly about it for weeks, including during a virtual town hall on Monday with constituents, and she recounted their conversation again in the statement on Friday.
A spokesman for Mr. McCarthy did not reply to a request for comment. Spokespeople for the House impeachment managers did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
The Republican leader’s response to Mr. Trump in the weeks since the attack on the Capitol has fluctuated. On the day of the House’s impeachment vote, he said Mr. Trump bore some responsibility for the attack because he had not denounced the mob, but he has since backtracked and sought to repair his relationship with the former president.
By Ms. Herrera Beutler’s account, Mr. McCarthy called Mr. Trump frantically on Jan. 6 as the Capitol was being besieged by thousands of pro-Trump supporters trying to stop Congress from counting Electoral College votes that would confirm his loss.
She said Mr. McCarthy asked him “to publicly and forcefully call off the riot.”
Mr. Trump replied by saying that antifa, not his supporters, was responsible. When Mr. McCarthy said that was not true, the former president was curt.
“Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are,” he said, according Ms. Herrera Beutler’s account of what Mr. McCarthy told her.
Hours after the assault began, Mr. Trump tweeted a video in which he asked those ransacking the Capitol to leave. “Go home. We love you. You’re very special,” he said.“