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Now, about those secret documents, Kevin …

Kevin McCarthy with gavel

And it exists. In fact, CNN reports that there’s a “document flying around K Street listing out all the alleged McCarthy concessions even as House GOP Whip Tom Emmer of Minnesota asserted that the document is not completely accurate.” So again, it does exist (even though McCarthy says it doesn’t) but what’s on it might not be what he actually agreed to, because that was all based on  ‘handshakes.’

“Everything in life is about—how do you come to terms and agree?” That’s Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), one of the key negotiators for the Freedom Caucus in the speaker vote debacle. “You look somebody in the eye and you shake their hands and you move forward, and that’s precisely what happened.” He’s protesting way too much. “There’s no back room deals … there’s no three-page addendum … there’s no official list,” Roy said. “Do you ever write down notes? Do you ever sit down and talk through like, say, ‘Hey, what are we going to do to agree on spending?’”

Let’s rewind the tape to last Thursday and one of the holdouts in the debacle.

Hmmmm … putting things in writing. Now, the balanced budget and cuts stuff, that ended up in writing. If that ended up in writing, the other stuff must have as well. That’s what the holdouts were demanding, and that’s what they got.

What they got is exactly what some other Republicans, the ones not included in the horse trading, want to know about. “Operating in a vacuum doesn’t feel good,” one GOP member told CNN. “We’ve been loyal and it’s a slap in the face.” Yes, well, that’s what you get for being loyal to someone as ambitious and craven as Kevin McCarthy.

Rep. Nancy Mace, a swing district Republican from South Carolina, has been one of the most vocal complainers about this whole mess. She said “it is essential” that not only she and other members of the conference learn what McCarthy promised to whom, but that the public hear it, too.

“We know that there were certain members of that faction that were trying to get committee chairmanships or special committee assignments. We won’t know how that shakes out until (the House GOP Steering Committee) does its thing. That’s the committee that doles out assignments. “There’s still some questions that I think many of us have about what side deals may or may not have been made, what promises are made, what handshakes are made.”

Nancy Mace

Again, that’s what the whole of the not-Freedom Caucus group of Republicans signed up for when they backed McCarthy through 15 votes. The good news for them and the rest of us is that it’s all going to come out because these people leak like sieves. Like Rep. Andy Ogles (R-TN) talking about the pressure campaign launched by McCarthy’s monied supporters on the hold-outs:

Or this member (maybe also Ogles?), sharing a threatening text they got from GOP donor Thomas Peterffy.

So we’re definitely going to find out all about the promises—and threats—McCarthy made to get his hands on the gavel. The only real question is whether the rest of the Republicans who let this happen are going to continue to go along with all of it.

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