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Rep. Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Tuesday he's "lost confidence" in Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) during a moment of candor caught on a hot mic, a tape reviewed by Axios shows.

What he's saying: "I think she's got real problems," McCarthy told Steve Doocy off-air ahead of a live "Fox and Friends" interview. "I've had it with ... I've had it with her. You know, I've lost confidence. ... Well, someone just has to bring a motion, but I assume that will probably take place."

  • The comments, made amid seeming cross-talk with Doocy, outlined how the House conference chair could be removed by a vote from the chamber's Republican members.
  • McCarthy's comments contrasted from the nearly 6-minute, on-air interview where he told Doocy he'd heard members concerned about Cheney's ability to carry out her job as a party leader.
  • "This is about whether the Republican Party is going to perpetuate lies about the 2020 election and attempt to whitewash what happened on Jan. 6," Cheney spokesperson Jeremy Adler said in response to McCarthy's aired Fox interview. "Liz will not do that. That is the issue."

Why it matters: To date, McCarthy has left some of his more pointed criticisms to his lieutenants, but this firmly puts him on the record — even if it was accidental.

  • Top Republicans told Axios' Jonathan Swan and Alayna Treene last week that Cheney could be removed within a month.

Editor's note: Updated with link to audio of McCarthy's comments.

Go deeper

Gina McCarthy confirms talks ongoing with airline industry to cut emissions

Gina McCarthy. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy was on the road Tuesday in Illinois to tout the administration's progress on climate action and learn more about cutting-edge energy research at two national laboratories.

Driving the news: In an interview with Axios, she addressed a Reuters report that the White House is working with the airline industry on a plan to cut that sector's greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050, through the use of sustainable aviation fuels, among other steps.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
42 mins ago - Health

The end of the Omicron wave is in sight

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Baidi Wang/Axios

The Omicron wave is likely beginning to recede in the U.S., experts say.

Why it matters: Omicron is still wreaking havoc in parts of the country, but infectious disease experts are optimistic that relief is around the corner.

NASA estimates Tonga volcano exploded with force of 5-6 megatons

A satellite image of Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano on Dec. 24, before the eruption. Photo: Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies

NASA scientists estimate the power of Tonga's volcanic eruption over the weekend to have been 5-6 Megatons of TNT equivalent.

Threat level: Saturday's eruption of the Hunga Tonga Hunga Haʻapai volcano and subsequent tsunami killed at least three people. Scientists warn an "ash-seawater cocktail" poses a potentially toxic health threat, and drinking water could be contaminated.