The gallows set up by supporters of Donald Trump outside the US Capitol, January 6, 2021 ((Shay Horse/NurPhoto/Getty)
Speaker Nancy Pelosi bars Trumpists from the House investigation of the January 6 Capitol attack, prompting Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to block any Republican involvement.
Pelosi rejected two of McCarthy’s five appointments, Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio. Both have loudly spread Trump’s falsehoods about a “stolen election” for President Joe Biden, and both have opposed any inquiry into the assault on the Capitol.
Jordan was among House Republicans who met with Trump in December to prevent the Congressional certification of the Electoral College outcome. That role makes him a potential witness in the investigation.
Banks equated the attack, in which five people died, to the Black Lives Matters marches last summer. He accompanied Trump to the southwest US border this month, with a participant in the Capitol Attack as a translator. On Monday night, he blamed the Biden Administration over the assault, and said he would stop the committee being “a forum for condemning millions of Americans because of their political beliefs”.
McCarthy then announced the Republican boycott.
Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the sole Republican among eight legislators appointed by Pelosi, not only said she would remain on the committee but fervently denounced McCarthy for undermining the investigation.
The rhetoric that we have heard from the Minority Leader is disingenuous. At every opportunity, the Minority Leader has attempted to prevent the American people from understanding what happened, to block this investigation.
Cheney was removed as the #3 Republican in the House in May, over her vote to impeach Trump for his incitement of the attack and for her highlighting of the seriousness of the assault.
“An Insistence on the Truth”
Pelosi explained her decision was taken “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”: “The unprecedented nature of January 6 demands this unprecedented decision.”
Shaken, McCarthy called a press conference and said he would pursue a Republican-only investigation. The Minority Leader indicated this would try to blame Pelosi for failing to protect the Capitol.
He continued the campaign by appearing alongside Reps. Banks and Jordan in TV interviews.
Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the chair of the committee, said he would “not be distracted by sideshows”. The first hearing next week will hear from Capitol and Washington DC police officers who faced the attackers.
Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, a panel member, summarized, “There are people who want to derail and thwart an investigation and there are people who want to conduct an investigation. That’s the fault line here.”