Tonight’s revelation that Kevin McCarthy was on the phone with Donald Trump during the Capitol attack, and that Trump taunted McCarthy over the fact that the building had been invaded, is a game changer. If I’m McCarthy, I’m hiring a really good criminal lawyer tonight to help me parse out my legal options going forward.
I’m not saying McCarthy has criminal liability. Not yet anyway. But he had evidence of a felony, and he sat on it for weeks. If he handles this wrong going forward, particularly once the criminal prosecutors come calling, he could be looking at obstruction of justice. He needs to be really careful, and he should definitely be relying on the advice of lawyers who have experience with criminal law.
As it’s shaping up right now, Kevin McCarthy will be forced to testify as a material witness at Trump’s eventual criminal trial, and he’ll have to explain to prosecutors why he sat on this crucial evidence for so long. If McCarthy were smart, he’d get out ahead of it now by testifying at the impeachment trial, which would firmly distance him from Trump’s crimes. But McCarthy is the direct opposite of smart, so who knows how badly he’ll screw this up for himself?
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report