Adam Kinzinger Scolds Kevin McCarthy After Latest Jan. 6 Trump Tape

GOP congressman Adam Kinzinger has criticized Kevin McCarthy after leaked audio emerged of the House Minority Leader stating that using the 25th Amendment to remove Donald Trump from office in the wake of the Capitol attack would "take too long."

Kinzinger, one of two Republicans in the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, was reacting to the clips of McCarthy which were obtained by two New York Times reporters and published on CNN.

In the recording of a call with GOP leaders on January 8, 2021, an aide is heard discussing how House Democrats are weighing up invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from the White House after his supporters stormed the Capitol.

McCarthy then interrupts the aide to state: "That takes too long too. It could go back to the House, right?"

Adam Kinzinger McCarthy tape
Adam Kinzinger, right, has criticized Kevin McCarthy, left, after new audio shows the House Minority Leader opposed evoking the 25th Amendment to remove Donald Trump from office as it would take "too long." Mark Wilson/Alex Wong/Getty Images

The aide confirms that if the president were to object to the removal, a two-thirds majority from both the House and Senate would be needed for it to be carried out.

The 25th Amendment in the Constitution allows for the vice president and the Cabinet to remove the president from power if they are found to be "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office."

Members of the house did indeed vote for VP Mike Pence to invoke the 25th amendment in the aftermath of January 6. Pence said he would deny such a request, saying that it would not be in "the best interest of the Nation or consistent with our Constitution."

In a tweet, Kinzinger suggested that McCarthy didn't want to try to invoke the 25th Amendment as it would affect his chances of becoming the House Majority Speaker if the GOP retakes control of the chamber in the midterms.

"How much time did [McCarthy] need to do the right thing? Is this why the VP wouldn't call the cabinet? Timing?" Kinzinger tweeted.

"Given how quickly he ran down to Mar-a-Lago to kiss the ring, I'd guess it wasn't a timing issue, but a calculated sell-out in his desperate quest to become Speaker."

Trump would leave office two weeks after the January 6 attack, with Joe Biden's inauguration taking place on January 20, 2021.

The former president was impeached for the second time after being accused of inciting the January 6 attack before being cleared by the Senate.

Elsewhere, the leaked audio recordings show that McCarthy was reluctant about impeaching the then-president, saying that it would further divide the nation.

"The only best way, I think, for everybody as Americans moving forward is to focus on the future, not the past, trying to bring us together," McCarthy said.

"And I do think the impeachment divides the nation further and continues the fight even greater."

The new audio is the latest potentially damaging revelation surrounding McCarthy and what he thought of Trump in the wake of the Capitol attack.

In previous leaked recordings, McCarthy is heard telling congresswoman Liz Cheney, the other Republican on the January 6 House Select Committee, that he planned to ask the former president to resign in the wake of the Capitol attack.

"The only discussion I would have with him is that I think this [impeachment] will pass, and it would be my recommendation you should resign," McCarthy is heard saying on January 10, four days after the Capitol riot.

McCarthy denied reports he was going to tell Trump he should resign as "totally false and wrong" before the audio recordings of his conversation with Cheney emerged.

The House Minority Leader is reported to have met Trump at his Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida on Monday for the first time since the tapes were leaked in late April.

Newsweek has contacted Kevin McCarthy for comment.