Schiff, a California Democrat who chairs the House Intelligence Committee and sits on the select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, told CNN’s John Berman that what “angered me the most” about the US Capitol attack were these “insurrectionists in suits and ties, who were still, even after the bloody insurrection, even after all the shattered glass and the death of that day, were back on the House floor trying to overturn the election.”
Asked if McCarthy is an “insurrectionist in a suit and tie,” Schiff replied, “Absolutely, absolutely.”
“Unlike those people climbing outside the building, they knew it was a lie. The true believers were out there attacking the building. But inside the chamber, my Republican colleagues know it is a big lie,” Schiff said of the false claims that there was widespread fraud in the 2020 election.
He also accused the GOP leadership in Congress of being “deathly afraid of crossing” former President Donald Trump.
CNN has reached out to McCarthy’s office for comment.
After the US Capitol was secured following the riots on January 6, Congress returned to formally affirm Joe Biden won the Election College vote, but a majority of House Republicans voted to object to the results for Arizona and Pennsylvania. McCarthy was among the House Republicans to vote to reject the two states’ results.
The GOP leader was initially critical of Trump’s handling of the January 6 insurrection, saying that Trump “bears responsibility” for the attack and “should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.” But McCarthy soon after met with the former Republican president at Mar-a-lago in Florida and his Bedminster, New Jersey golf club, and has since joined many members of his conference in trying to move on from the January 6 insurrection and downplaying the attack.
The committee investigating the Capitol riot has considered calling McCarthy to testify about his phone call with Trump on January 6. The panel has already issued subpoenas for four former Trump aides hoping to hear their testimony.
Schiff on Tuesday said that the committee is attempting to secure their testimony, but also “make it very clear that those who don’t cooperate with our committee are going to be the subject of criminal contempt.”
Pressed on the timeline of the criminal referrals, Schiff said, “It will come very fast if people refuse to cooperate, have no basis for their refusal, it will come very fast. I think that’s all I can say.”