President Trump admits he’s partly to blame for violence at U.S. Capitol

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U.S. President Donald Trump looks on at the end of his speech during a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, in Washington, U.S, January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Jim Bourg

(CBS NEWS) — President Trump admitted Monday that he is at least partially to blame for what transpired at the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday.

That’s according to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who spoke with the president on Monday and later conveyed Mr. Trump’s feelings to fellow House Republicans.

Multiple Republicans familiar with the exchanges confirmed the details to CBS News.

The call between the president and top House Republican came on the same day Mr. Trump met face-to-face in the Oval Office with Vice President Pence for the first time since the deadly siege, during which protesters were heard chanting, “Hang Mike Pence!”

The outreach to senior Republicans comes as the House is set to vote Tuesday on a resolution calling on Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment with Cabinet secretaries to remove the president from office. If Pence and the Cabinet do not do so, the House is expected to vote Wednesday on an article of impeachment against Mr. Trump, holding him responsible for inciting the mob that assaulted the Capitol, leaving five people dead.

While many congressional Republicans have voiced opposition to impeaching Mr. Trump for a second time, including McCarthy, a handful of Republican senators have signaled they are open to impeachment charges or have called on the president to resign before his term expires on January 20.

McCarthy recounted details of his call with the president to fellow Republicans during a conference call later Monday, the people familiar with the exchange said.

In a letter sent to House Republicans and obtained by CBS News, McCarthy wrote that he remains opposed to impeachment, writing it would “have the opposite effect of bringing our country together when we need to get America back on a path towards unity and civility.”

He said members across the conference had recommended other avenues to address the riots in the Capitol on Wednesday, including creating a bipartisan commission to study the attack, reforming the Electoral Count Act of 1887 and crafting legislation to “promote voter confidence in future federal elections.”

The other option McCarthy mentioned was a resolution of censure, though he did not say who would be censured. The letter did not mention Mr. Trump by name. 

McCarthy also reiterated to fellow House Republicans that he too believes the president bears some responsibility for the mob and assault on the Capitol.

The House leader was among many senior Republicans who spoke with the president during the assault on Wednesday and pleaded with him to call off his supporters and send military assistance to quell the disturbance.

Kimberly Brown contributed reporting.

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