House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Wednesday rejected two of Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) picks to serve on the committee investigating the events of Jan. 6. Soon after, McCarthy announced that he was planning to withdraw all five of the Republicans he wanted on the panel.
Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Jim Banks (R-IN) were unfit to serve on the committee, Pelosi said in a statement.
“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,” the speaker said.
“The unprecedented nature of January 6th demands this unprecedented decision.”
McCarthy responded with a brief statement, asserting that unless Pelosi reverses herself, no Republicans will participate (he did not mention that one of Pelosi’s picks, Rep. Liz Cheney, is a Republican).
“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,” McCarthy said.
“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 added.
Asked about such a withdrawal, Pelosi said, “We have a bipartisan quorum, we can proceed.”
McCarthy hastily set up a press conference with his five nominees for Wednesday afternoon to discuss Pelosi’s “abuse of power.”
There, McCarthy, flanked by his five selections, decried Pelosi’s “sham,” intoning that a “lame duck speaker” is destroying the institution. He brushed aside, with vague references to “scope,” questions of why he blocked the independent commission that would have given his appointees equal billing to the Democratic ones, and that would have given Republican picks veto power over subpoenas.
He also made clear that the only answers Republicans were interested in concerned the lack of preparedness at the Capitol, and how to keep it from happening again. His phone call with former President Donald Trump during the insurrection, he added, did not fall under those auspices.
“My 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 that that’s the issue they want to go to.”
Banks, eager to highlight his military service, pointed to her veto as evidence that Pelosi is “the most partisan figure in America today.”
“The American people deserve the truth,” he wrote in a statement. “Unfortunately, Speaker Pelosi is afraid of the facts.”
Banks and Jordan joined dozens of other congressional Republicans in voting to overturn the 2020 election on Jan. 6 — but so did Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX), who is one of three of McCarthy’s picks for the committee that Pelosi said she would accept as a member of the panel.
The other two McCarthy picks for the committee, who Pelosi said she approved, were Reps. Rodney Davis (R-IL) and Kelly Armstrong (R-ND). Pelosi told McCarthy to send her names to replace Jordan and Banks.
“Monday evening, the Minority Leader recommended 5 Members to serve on the Select Committee,” Pelosi said in her statement. “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. 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.”
Banks on Monday published a statement saying he’d accepted McCarthy’s nomination to serve on the committee, then undermining the premise of the committee itself, saying “If Democrats were serious about investigating political violence, this committee would be studying not only the January 6 riot at the Capitol, but also the hundreds of violent political riots last simmer when many more innocent Americans and law-enforcement officers were attacked.”
Pelosi, Banks said, “created this committee solely to malign conservatives and to justify the left’s authoritarian agenda.”
In an interview Monday on Newsmax, Jordan said “I want to serve [on the committee] because we know what this is. This is Impeachment Round 3. This is to go after President Trump.”
Republicans in both chambers of Congress have spent months voting against efforts to assemble investigatory panels to review the events of Jan. 6.
In May, a bill to create an independent, 9/11-style commission failed to garner the 10 Republican votes needed in the Senate. It became the first legislation this year to be blocked by a filibuster, which can only be broken under current Senate rules by a 60 vote majority.
In June, just two House Republicans voted for Pelosi’s select committee to investigate that day — Cheney, now one of Pelosi’s picks for the committee, and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL).
This post has been updated.