House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday defended her decision to veto House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s picks of GOP Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio for the January 6 committee.
The two Trump loyalists “made statements and took actions that just made it ridiculous to put them on such a committee seeking the truth,” Pelosi said at her weekly press conference.
The House Speaker said the work of the committee is “deadly serious” and reiterated that allowing Banks and Jordan to participate would “impact the integrity” of the probe.
Both Banks and Jordan have publicly attacked the inquiry, which hasn’t formally begun yet.
“You know what this is about. This is about going after President Trump. The Democrats don’t want to talk about anything else,” Jordan said during a recent CNN appearance.
“Make no mistake, Nancy Pelosi created this committee solely to malign conservatives and to justify the Left’s authoritarian agenda,” Banks said in a statement on Monday.
Pelosi, for her part, said the GOP lawmakers’ comments “fall into the realm of ‘you must be kidding,'” adding, “There’s no way they are going to be on the committee.”
-Ben Siegel (@bensiegel) July 22, 2021
The House Speaker on Wednesday announced she was barring Banks and Jordan from the committee, but said she would accept the three other Republicans that McCarthy recommended: Reps. Kelly Armstrong, Troy Nehls, and Rodney Davis. But after the Speaker’s announcement, McCarthy said the Republicans he picked would no longer participate and the GOP would run its own investigation into the insurrection. It’s not clear what the GOP inquiry would look like, and it would likely lack the authority of the official House investigation.
Though former President Donald Trump provoked the fatal January 6 insurrection and congressional leaders are not responsible for security at the Capitol, Republicans like McCarthy and Jordan have essentially taken to pinning the blame on Pelosi for the riot.
-Acyn (@Acyn) July 22, 2021
The House Speaker on Thursday said she would not allow Republicans to derail the investigation.
“It’s my responsibility as Speaker of the House to make sure we get to the truth on this, and we will not let their antics stand in the way of that,” Pelosi said.
An investigation into the January 6 insurrection has the potential to be highly uncomfortable for top Republicans who helped amplify Trump’s lies about the 2020 election, which catalyzed the deadly riot at the Capitol. McCarthy, Banks, and Jordan all objected to certifying the election results.
Republicans in May blocked a bill to form a bipartisan, independent 9/11-style commission to investigate the insurrection. This prompted the Democratic-led House to vote in favor of forming a committee.
While McCarthy’s five picks will not serve on the committee, GOP Rep. Liz Cheney is still set to participate. The Wyoming Republican was tapped by Pelosi in early July to sit on the committee. Pelosi on Thursday also signaled she’s considering GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois for the committee. Both Cheney and Kinzinger were among the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump over the insurrection.