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Pelosi blocks Banks and Jordan from panel reviewing Jan. 6 riot

McCarthy blasts move, says GOP may not participate at all

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, has been rejected by Speaker Nancy Pelosi from serving on the Jan. 6 Select Committee.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, has been rejected by Speaker Nancy Pelosi from serving on the Jan. 6 Select Committee. (CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday rejected two of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s picks for the Jan. 6 select committee: Republicans Jim Banks of Indiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio.

“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,” Pelosi said in a statement.

The speaker said she was prepared to appoint GOP Reps. Rodney Davis of Illinois, Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota and Troy Nehls of Texas and asked McCarthy to put forth two additional picks rather than Banks and Jordan.

“I have spoken with [McCarthy] 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,” Pelosi said.

McCarthy indicated Wednesday he might pull all of his members out and not participate.

“This represents an egregious abuse of power and will irreparably damage this institution. … Unless Speaker Pelosi reverses course and seats all five Republican nominees, Republicans will not be party to their sham process and will instead pursue our own investigation of the facts,” he said in a statement.

After McCarthy announced his picks Monday, Banks, who chairs the Republican Study Committee, said Pelosi had created the panel to “malign conservatives” but added that he would work to provide Americans with the facts surrounding the attack.

“I have accepted Leader McCarthy’s appointment to this committee because we need leaders who will force the Democrats and the media to answer questions so far ignored,” Banks said in a statement. “Among them, why was the Capitol unprepared and vulnerable to attack on January 6?”

After his selection, Jordan told Newsmax: “I want to serve because we know what this is. This is impeachment round three. This is to go after President [Donald] Trump, and I don’t frankly blame the Democrats for doing this because what else they got?”

In the wake of Pelosi’s decision, Jordan sent a short statement: “Speaker Pelosi just admitted the obvious, that the January 6th Select Committee is nothing more than a partisan political charade.”

Nehls, Banks and Jordan all voted to overturn certain 2020 presidential results during the counting of electoral votes on Jan. 6, following the attack on the Capitol by a Trump-supporting mob.

Under the framework of the select committee resolution, Pelosi gets eight picks and an additional five are appointed by McCarthy, but in consultation with Pelosi, meaning she has the power to veto any of his choices.

House Republican leadership, led by McCarthy, opposed legislation that would have established a bipartisan, independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack, with similar parameters as the 9/11 commission.

That would have created a 10-person bipartisan panel appointed by congressional leaders from both parties. It ultimately failed on a procedural vote in the Senate.

Many GOP lawmakers had concerns that the commission’s scope was not broad enough. However, New York Rep. John Katko, the ranking Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, who crafted the legislation in a bipartisan manner with panel’s chairman, Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, said the commission could have the flexibility to include components outside the Jan. 6 attack. 

“How much that commission will exercise that flexibility, that depends on the commissioners,” Katko said at the time such a panel was being considered.

But at a Wednesday news conference after Pelosi’s announcement, McCarthy said the scope of that commission was not wide-ranging enough.

He said, as Republicans had argued at the time of the commission vote — and despite Katko’s assertion — that it wouldn’t have allowed them to investigate other incidents, such as the attack that killed Capitol Police Officer Billy Evans on April 2. 

“We had an officer killed beyond that day, on Good Friday, but Pelosi would only let us with a scope this far,” McCarthy said.

He also questioned whether Pelosi was “afraid” of the questions Jordan would pose as a member of the Jan. 6 select committee.

But Democrats pushed back on McCarthy’s motives as well.

“Republicans rejected a commission in which there would have been equal opportunity to appoint people. When we moved to the alternate, which was a select committee, Kevin McCarthy once again chose to name people who would disrupt the proceedings,” said California Rep. Adam B. Schiff, a member of the select committee. “So he’s demonstrated he’s not serious about this.”

Pelosi announced her eight choices on July 1. One of them was Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, who was kicked out as GOP Conference chair, the party’s No. 3 position in leadership, for criticizing Trump’s lies about election fraud.

Thompson is set to chair the 13-member select committee. Pelosi also named Democrats Schiff, Zoe Lofgren and Pete Aguilar of California, Jamie Raskin of Maryland, Elaine Luria of Virginia and Stephanie Murphy of Florida to the panel.

Thompson said the select committee would not be deterred from its mission, regardless of GOP positioning on it.

“At every point after the domestic terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol, Speaker Pelosi has met Republican Leadership more than halfway to investigate the facts and circumstances of January 6th. Today, the Speaker, by exercising her authority under H.Res. 503, again took decisive action to bring us closer to delivering the answers that the American public seek about this attack on our democracy. This is about the integrity of the investigation. Period,” he said in a statement.

Chris Cioffi contributed to this report.

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