(AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
says a committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurgency "will do the job it set out to do," despite Republicans
' pledge to boycott the investigation
Republicans will not participate, House GOP
Leader Kevin McCarthy
said on Wednesday, after Pelosi rejected two of his nominees for the panel, Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana
and Jim Jordan
. Pelosi made it clear on Thursday that she will not relent, telling reporters that the two men “took actions that made it ridiculous to put them on such a comm.”
“It is my responsibility as Speaker of the House to ensure that we get to the truth of this, and we will not let their antics stand in our way,” Pelosi said.
Banks and Jordan are vocal supporters of former President Donald Trump
, whose supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 and disrupted the certification of President Joe Biden
's election; both men voted to overturn the election results in the hours following the siege.
For the time
being, it is unclear whether Pelosi will attempt to appoint additional members to the panel, as she has the authority to do under committee rules. She did, however, leave the door open, saying that there are other members who would like to participate.
Unless Speaker Pelosi reverses course and seats all five Republican nominees, Republicans will refuse to participate in their sham process and instead conduct our own investigation of the facts
. My full statement
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) July 21, 2021
One possibility is Illinois
Rep. Adam Kinzinger
, who was one of only two Republicans to vote in favor of forming the committee; the other is Wyoming
Rep. Liz Cheney
, who has already been appointed by Pelosi to sit on the panel alongside seven Democrats
, ensuring they have a quorum to proceed regardless of whether other Republicans participate or not.
The fight over the panel exemplifies the raw political tensions in Congress
that have only grown since the insurgency, and it raises the possibility that the investigation — the only comprehensive probe currently underway into the attack
— will be done almost entirely by Democrats. The House voted in May to create an independent investigation that would have been evenly split between Democrats and Republicans.
McCarthy called Pelosi's move an "egregious abuse
of power" that will harm Congress.
“Unless Speaker Pelosi reverses course and seats all five Republican nominees, Republicans will refuse to participate in their sham process and will instead conduct our own investigation of the facts,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy has stated that the panel has lost “all legitimacy” because Pelosi refused to allow Republicans to name their own members. It is unclear how McCarthy would lead a separate investigation because the minority does not have the power to create committees.
Despite the violent insurgency of Trump supporters
that sent many lawmakers fleeing for their lives, most Republicans have remained loyal to Trump. McCarthy would not say whether Republicans would participate in the investigation for weeks, but he sent the five
names to Pelosi on Monday.
McCarthy's three other picks — Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis
, North Dakota
Rep. Kelly Armstrong, and Texas
Rep. Troy Nehls — were accepted by Pelosi, but McCarthy stated that all five would participate or none would.
Nehls voted to overturn Biden's victory, while Armstrong and Davis voted to certify the election.
Banks recently traveled with Trump to the U.S.-Mexico border
and paid him a visit at his New Jersey golf
course, and in a statement issued after McCarthy appointed him to the panel, he chastised the Democrats who had set it up.
“Make no mistake, Nancy Pelosi established this committee solely to demonize conservatives
and justify the Left’s authoritarian agenda,” Banks said.
Democrats appointed to the committee by Pelosi earlier this month were outraged by that statement, according to a senior Democratic
aide familiar with the private discussions and speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss them, and they were also concerned about Banks' two recent visits with Trump, the person said.
Jordan, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee
, was one of Trump's most vocal defenders during his two impeachments and compared the new investigation to "impeachment three" last month. Trump was impeached by the House twice and acquitted by the Senate
If Pelosi goes that route, Cheney said she would support fellow Republican Kinzinger's appointment, while Maryland
Democrat Jamie Raskin said he'd be open to anyone who doesn't want to obstruct the committee's work
, and "I'm sure Kinzinger does not want to obstruct the committee's work."
According to a person familiar with the committee's work who requested anonymity to discuss the private discussions, the panel is also considering hiring former Virginia
Riggleman, a Republican who has criticized Trump's lies
about election fraud
, as an outside adviser.
Cheney told reporters Wednesday that she agrees with Pelosi's decision to reject McCarthy's two Republicans.
“At every opportunity, the minority leader has tried to keep the American people
from understanding what happened — to obstruct this investigation,” Cheney said.
The panel's first hearing will be held next week, with at least four rank-and-file police officers who battled rioters that day testifying about their experiences. Dozens of police officers were injured as the violent mob pushed past them and broke into the Capitol building.
The committee's chair, Mississippi
Rep. Bennie Thompson
, stated that the committee would carry out its responsibilities.
“It has been more than 6 months since the attack, and we owe it to our democracy
to stay the course and not be distracted by sideshows,” Thompson said in a statement, adding, “That is exactly what we will be doing next Tuesday, when the bipartisan committee members take testimony from frontline heroes
who put their lives on the line to protect our democracy.”
Seven people died as a result of the rioting, including a woman who was shot by police as she attempted to break into the House chamber and three other Trump supporters who were taken to the hospital
In the days that followed, two police officers committed suicide
, and a third officer, Capitol Police
Officer Brian Sicknick
, collapsed and later died after engaging with protesters, and a medical examiner determined he died of natural causes.
Kevin Freking of the Associated Press
contributed reporting from Washington.