Kevin McCarthy was in favor of taking power away from the minority when the GOP was in control — but now he wants it back.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is asking Speaker Nancy Pelosi to stop the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump unless she grants the GOP greater power in the process.
In a letter McCarthy sent Thursday, he listed several demands his own party didn't afford to Democrats when they were in the minority. In fact, some demands seek to reverse Republican rule changes that McCarthy supported.
For instance, McCarthy asks Pelosi to give Republicans, who are now in the minority, the power to issue subpoenas. That's a power Republicans took away from Democrats when they still controlled the House.
In 2015, the GOP made a major rule change, stripping the minority party of the ability to influence the subpoena process. Before the rule change, most committee chairs needed either the consent of the ranking minority member or a majority vote of the committee to issue a subpoena.
Republicans changed the rule to give several committee chairs the unilateral authority to issue subpoenas without minority input or consent.
McCarthy, who was House majority leader at the time, encouraged his fellow Republicans to use this rule change to ram through subpoenas to the Obama White House without interference from Democrats.
In modern impeachment proceedings, the minority party has had some power to issue subpoenas. But that was before Republicans changed the rules of the House with regards to subpoenas.
McCarthy also laments in his letter to Pelosi that the "limited minority participation" of some Republican members in interviews "call[s] into question the integrity of such an inquiry."
But when Republicans spent years investigating the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, the GOP majority denied any Democratic participation in at least five interviews. When Democrats on the House select committee complained, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), chair of the committee, brushed off the complaints saying he would interview whatever witnesses he wanted with or without Democrats present.
McCarthy seemed nonplussed at the time. In fact, he praised the Benghazi investigation for accomplishing his primary goal, which was to drive down Hillary Clinton's poll numbers.
"Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee, McCarthy told Fox News in September 2015. "What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping."
Even McCarthy's defense of Trump is a stark turnaround. In June 2016, McCarthy was caught on tape declaring his opinion that Trump was being paid off by Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.
"There's two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump," McCarthy said, according to the Washington Post. Rohrabacher refers to then-Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), who lost his seat in 2018.
Despite his admission of blatantly partisan intentions in the past, and his support of stripping the minority of what few powers it had, McCarthy is now pleading with Pelosi to give back powers he helped strip away, in order to try to stop what looks more and more like the inevitable impeachment of Trump.
"Kevin McCarthy must believe the American people are foolish enough to fall for his attempts to cover up Trump's gross corruption seen in real time," said a Democratic aide. "This is why Republicans lost the House, and this is why they'll plunge further into the minority."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.