WASHINGTON -- The day before House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy stunned Republicans by pulling out of the U.S. House Speaker's race, Rep. Walter Jones (R-3rd) wrote a letter to the GOP conference chair, asking that "any candidate for Speaker of the House, majority leader and majority whip withdraw himself from the leadership election if there are any misdeeds he has committed since joining Congress that will embarrass himself."

Previously, Jones would not explain his motivation for sending the letter or what he meant by "misdeeds."

But in an exclusive interview with Washington bureau reporter Geoff Bennett, Jones said he wrote the letter, in part, to persuade McCarthy to drop out, adding that he had doubts about McCarthy’s integrity.

"My purpose of writing that letter is that I feel the frustration of the people of my district, the people of America," Jones said in the interview. "They have very little trust in Washington, D.C. -- in the institution that we work in."

The following is an excerpt of the full interview:

Geoff Bennett: What in particular would make you doubt Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s integrity?

Rep. Walter Jones: "Well, I guess … I try not to put much stock into rumors. The rumors, but then also the way he operates the House of Representatives. He's held some of my bills up in past committees, and I don't think, I don't think anybody in leadership -- whether he be a majority leader or speaker -- should say to a member of Congress, who has been elected from a district of 700- or 800,000 people, that we're not going to move your bills because you didn't vote for the current Speaker. Or we're not going to move your bills because you vote as an independent too often."


Bennett: "In the letter, were you alluding to the unsubstantiated rumors involving Rep. Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Renee Ellmers?"

Jones: "As I said Geoff, just a moment ago, the rumors yes, but there were also other reasons as well. Because I don't know when a member of Congress running for a leadership position -- you know, if you've been caught out drinking and driving, or you've been gambling and you owe a debt to an organization, or if you've had bankruptcy or anything -- so to me it was not only that rumor, but others as well."


Bennett: "Have you spoken to Rep. Ellmers since your letter went public?"

Jones: "No, because that was not the prime reason for me to write the letter. Because I would have written the letter without hearing that rumor. That's my point."


Bennett: "So you are saying you've heard the rumor, but that was not your only reason for writing that letter."

Jones: "I don't know who has NOT heard the rumor. But what I heard was a year ago. And all these rumors recently, I have not heard them. Because I don't go on the Internet, I don't carry BlackBerry."


Both McCarthy and Ellmers have repeatedly denied the accusations.

Ellmers released the following written statement today: "As someone who has been targeted by completely false accusations and innuendo, I have been moved by the outpouring of support and prayers from my colleagues, constituents and friends. Now I will be praying for those who find it acceptable to bear false witness."