Just as Donald Trump’s Senate impeachment trial was wrapping up this evening, someone leaked to CNN that during the Capitol insurrection, Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called up Trump and cursed him out over it.
To be clear, these kinds of leaks nearly always come from the person who “looks good” in the story, which in this instance is McCarthy. So it’s safe to presume that he, or someone close to him who has his blessing, leaked this story himself. The question is why McCarthy is doing this right now.
From a “court of public opinion” standpoint, the Senate impeachment trial has been a total win for the Democrats, and a total disaster for Trump. Whether he’s convicted or not, every Republican associated with him will take a hit from this politically. Kevin McCarthy is a dummy but he’s not that kind of stupid. So he’s now leaking that he cursed out Trump during the insurrection, as a way of trying to distance himself from Trump’s sinking ship.
Moreover, McCarthy is leaking things that are highly damaging when it comes to Trump’s guilt. He claims that while the domestic terrorists were ransacking the Capitol, Trump told him, “I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.” That’s the kind of line that can help put Trump in prison during his inevitable criminal trial.
Kevin McCarthy is trying to make himself look tough by insisting that he responded to this line by telling Trump, “Who the f–k do you think you are talking to?” It really just makes McCarthy look even worse for then going on to vote against impeaching Trump in the House. But this is bigger than McCarthy. This CNN story makes it likely that McCarthy will be called to testify in Trump’s eventual criminal trial, as he’s a key witness when it comes to Trump’s intent while the attack was going on.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report