“Well, Kevin, I think these people are more upset about the election than you are,” Trump said, according to lawmakers who were later informed of the call by McCarthy.
McCarthy insisted the rioters were Trump’s supporters and asked Trump to cancel them.
Trump’s comment sparked what Republican lawmakers familiar with the call called a screaming match between the two men. An angry McCarthy told the then president that the rioters were breaking into his office through the windows and asked Trump, “Who the hell are you talking to?” According to a Republican lawmaker familiar with the call.
The newly revealed details of the appeal, described to CNN by several Republicans, provide a critical look at the president’s state of mind as rioters overran the Capitol. The existence of the call and some of its details were first reported by Punchbowl News and discussed publicly by McCarthy.
Republican Congressmen said the exchange showed that Trump had no intention of canceling the rioters even when lawmakers asked him to intervene. Some said it was a violation of his presidential duties.
“He’s not an impeccable observer, he chose her,” said a Republican member of Congress. “On January 13th, Kevin McCarthy said on the floor of the house that the President is in charge and he does.”
Speaking to the president from the beleaguered Capitol, McCarthy urged Trump to retrieve his supporters and embroiled in heated disagreements over who comprised the crowd. Trump’s comment on the potential insurgents who care more about election results than McCarthy was mentioned in a town hall earlier this week by Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, a Washington state Republican, and confirmed by Herrera Beutler and CNN to CNN as other Republicans informed about the conversation.
“You have to look at what he did during the riot to confirm where his thoughts were,” Herrera Beutler, one of ten Republicans in the House who voted in favor of Trump last month, told CNN. “That line right there tells me that he either didn’t care, which is final, because you can’t allow an attack on your ground, or he wanted it to happen and was okay with it, which makes me so angry.”
“We should never stand for it, for any reason, under any party flag,” she added, expressing her extreme frustration: “I try really hard not to say the F-word.”
Herrera Beutler went a step further on Friday night, urging others to speak about more details on the talks Trump and Pence had on Jan. 6.
“For the patriots standing next to the former president during these talks, or even the former vice president, if you have anything to add here, now is the time,” she said in a statement.
Another Republican member of Congress said the call was problematic for Trump.
“I think it speaks for the former president’s mindset,” said Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, an Ohio Republican who also voted last month to indict Trump. “He was not sorry to see his adamantly loyal Vice President or Congress attacked by the mob he had inspired. In fact, he seemed pleased, or at least enjoying the scenes that were terrifying for most Americans across the country . “”
As senators prepare to determine Trump’s fate, several Republicans thought the details of the call were important to the process, believing it paints a damned portrait of Trump’s lack of action during the attack. At least one of the sources speaking to CNN made detailed notes of McCarthy’s retelling of the call.
Trump and McCarthy did not respond to requests for comment.
It was a few hours before Trump finally encouraged his followers to “go home in peace” – a tweet that came at the urging of his top aides.
In Trump’s impeachment trial on Friday, his attorneys argued that Trump actually tried to calm the rioters with a series of tweets while the attack was unfolding. But his lawyers picked his tweets and focused on his plea of supporters to “stay peaceful” without mentioning that he also attacked then-Vice President Mike Pence and waited for hours to expressly urge the rioters to leave the Capitol .
A source close to Pence said that Trump’s legal team was not telling the truth when attorney Michael van der Veen said during the trial that the then president “never knew” that his vice president was in danger.
When asked if van der Veen was lying, the source said: “Yes.” Former Pence aides are still angry about Trump’s actions on Jan. 6 and insist that he never checked the vice president as Pence was jerked out of danger by his US intelligence detail.
It is unclear to what extent these new details were known to House Democrat impeachment managers, or whether the team considered calling McCarthy a witness. Managers have retained the option to call witnesses during the impeachment trial, although that option remains unlikely as the trial progresses.
The Republican leader of the House had expected details of his talks with Trump on and after January 6 at his conference.
Trump himself has not taken any responsibility in public.
This story has been updated with additional reports.
CNN’s Jim Acosta and Gloria Borger contributed to this report.