Lincoln Project co-founder and MSNBC contributor Steve Schmidt suggested on the network Friday that House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy could be “locked in a basement” by the House sergeant-at-arms until he agrees to testify for the Democrats’ Jan. 6 committee.
“The House should use every power that it has at its discretion, including an inherent contempt power that could see the sergeant at arms handcuff and detain Kevin McCarthy in a locked basement office until he wishes to testify,” Schmidt claimed. “There is no matter before the country more serious than this and being a minority leader, being the leader of Republicans, does not immunize you either from your duty or from complying with lawful subpoenas.”
McCarthy, of California, hasn’t yet been subpoenaed by the committee.
The minority leader refused a request from the committee this week to voluntarily testify about communications he had with former President Trump last year while rioters were breaching the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. He said this week there was “nothing” he could provide to shed light on what happened that day.
Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon was charged with contempt of Congress late last year for refusing to cooperate with the investigation but it was unclear if anyone on the committee would take the same step with a congressional colleague.
Schmidt, who in the past worked on the Republican campaigns of former President George W. Bush and the late Sen. John McCain of Arizona, also called McCarthy “villainous” and “childlike,” claiming the lawmaker only thinks in the moment during the interview with Nicole Wallace for “Deadline: White House.”
Schmidt’s own anti-Trump Lincoln Project has faced scandal in the last year: Most prominently, co-founder John Weaver was accused of online sexual harassment last year by a number of men.
The group was also criticized for staging a fake White supremacist gathering at a Virginia rally for then-Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin prior to Youngkin’s election win.
Youngkin denounced the Lincoln Project over the stunt.