Former President Donald Trump’s meeting with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Thursday fed into speculation about the GOP leader’s plan for the Jan. 6 select committee.
The get-together at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, came as Mr. McCarthy, California Republican, mulls whether to appoint GOP members to the committee tasked with investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, set up the select committee and tapped two anti-Trump Republicans, Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, to join the panel.
Mr. McCarthy has been mum about whether he plans to appoint more Republicans to the select committee, which has subpoena power and is supposed to be composed of 13 members: eight of them tapped by Mrs. Pelosi and five by Mr. McCarthy.
Republicans mostly oppose the committee, saying Democrats plan to use it to smear Mr. Trump and the GOP with blame for the violence on Jan. 6.
Mr. Trump promoted the meeting with Mr. McCarthy in a statement, saying the two men have “Much to discuss!”
Mr. McCarthy’s office did not return a request for comment after the meeting.
Mr. McCarthy also was on the guest list for a White House dinner that President Biden hosted Thursday night for German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Mr. McCarthy’s relationship with Mr. Trump has been under intense scrutiny since a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol to protest the 2020 election results.
The 56-year-old minority leader is well-positioned to be the next speaker if the GOP flips the House next year, and is betting he is better off trying to keep Mr. Trump in his corner.
Mr. McCarthy played a lead role in torpedoing a proposed bipartisan 9/11-style independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack.
He cited other congressional investigations into the day’s events and called for the probe to be expanded to include other instances of political violence around the country. Mr. Trump fiercely opposed the commission and slammed the “wayward” Republicans who backed the proposal.
The Trump-McCarthy meeting added to the speculation over what the minority leader will do — namely whether he is more likely to moderate Republicans or vocal Trump backers to the panel.
The Pelosi appointments included Ms. Cheney. She was ousted from her post as chair of the House Republican Conference this year after she refused to dial down her criticism of Mr. Trump and accusations he incited the Jan. 6 attack.
Mr. McCarthy and Mr. Trump rallied against Ms. Cheney and paved the way for Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York to replace her as the third-ranking House Republican.
House Democrats on the select committee are plowing ahead with or without Republicans.
They have scheduled their first hearing for July 27 and plan to take testimony from District of Columbia and Capitol Police officers, some of whom have been vocal critics of the GOP‘s response to the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Mr. McCarthy‘s campaign announced this week that he raised more than $43 million in the first half of 2021, a massive fundraising haul.
They said he has passed along $15 million to the National Republican Congressional Committee, the campaign arm for House Republicans, and state parties, and has given another $6.8 million to GOP incumbents.