After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday rejected two of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s recommendations for the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, McCarthy said he would pull all his Republican nominees unless she reverses course.
Pelosi rejected two of McCarthy’s recommendations — Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio, a staunch defender of former President Donald Trump.
“I have spoken with him this morning about the objections raised about Representatives Jim Banks and Jim Jordan and the impact their appointments may have on the integrity of the investigation,” she said in a statement. “I also informed him that I was prepared to appoint Representatives Rodney Davis, Kelly Armstrong and Troy Nehls, and requested that he recommend two other Members.
“With respect for the integrity of the investigation, with an insistence on the truth and with concern about statements made and actions taken by these Members, I must reject the recommendations of Representatives Banks and Jordan to the Select Committee,” she said.
“The unprecedented nature of January 6th demands this unprecedented decision,” Pelosi added.
McCarthy shot back at a news conference on Wednesday, saying Pelosi had created “a sham process.”
“House Democrats must answer this question,” he said. “Why are you allowing a lame-duck speaker to destroy this institution? This is the people’s house, not Pelosi’s House.”
He said unless Pelosi changes her mind and seats all five nominees, “we will not participate.” But, he said, Republicans will run their own investigation to answer why the Capitol was “ill-prepared” for the riot — something he and Republicans have blamed Pelosi for.
“Speaker Nancy Pelosi has taken the unprecedented step of denying the minority party’s picks for the Select Committee on January 6,” he said in an earlier statement. “This represents an egregious abuse of power and will irreparably damage this institution. Denying the voices of members who have served in the military and law enforcement, as well as leaders of standing committees, has made it undeniable that this panel has lost all legitimacy and credibility and shows the Speaker is more interested in playing politics than seeking the truth,” it read in part.
The House Select Committee was expected to hold its first hearing on Tuesday.
House GOP Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., on Tuesday signaled some of the lines of inquiry Republicans would try to advance — calling for an examination of “the whole array of political violence that led up to Jan. 6 and still has gone on after that” along with the security posture on Capitol Hill before the insurrection.
“There have been many questions raised about why there hasn’t been a higher National Guard presence,” Scalise said, hitting on a point McCarthy drove home on Wednesday.
As to how Republicans would respond to Democrats calling for GOP members to testify under oath about Jan. 6, Scalise said he would “let members of the committee discuss that and debate that.”
Asked at his press conference if he was still prepared to testify about his phone call with Trump during the riot, McCarthy said his phone call is “out there.”
“The question is, you make a phone call after people are in the Capitol to advise the president of what’s going on, doesn’t get to the answer of why were we ill-prepared,” he said. “That’s really playing politics, and it really shows if that’s the issue that they want to go to, before they want to drive, we don’t get all the answers.”
President Joe Biden did not answer shouted questions on the Jan. 6 commission developments while departing the White House Wednesday, but the White House issued a statement emphasizing that Biden stands behind Pelosi’s decision to reject two of the Republican lawmakers.
“The President has made clear that the shameful events of January 6th deserve a full, independent, and transparent investigation to ensure something like that never happens again, and he has full confidence in the Speaker’s ability to lead that work,” White House spokesperson Michael Gwin said in a statement.
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