Speaker Nancy Pelosi has rejected two of the five Republicans that Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy picked to serve on the committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. Pelosi said Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jim Banks of Indiana would threaten the “integrity” of the inquiry.
McCarthy, in turn, pulled the three other Republicans he suggested yesterday – Reps. Rodney Davis of Illinois, Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota and Troy Nehls of Texas. The committee will now just have one member of the GOP: Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, whose dogged criticism of Trump landed her an invitation from Democrats in charge of the probe.
“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. “The unprecedented nature of January 6th demands this unprecedented decision.”
McCarthy shot back, “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.”
Both Banks and Jordan voted against certifying the 2020 election. Jordan, in particular, has made a habit of grandstanding and inflaming partisan divisions. In 2019, he was part of a GOP protest that temporarily delayed the first impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump. He has repeatedly tried to redirect Congressional probes of the Trump administration toward perceived enemies, including law enforcement personnel that worked on the Mueller investigation.
Chris Cillizza, the CNN political analyst, outlined what McCarthy hoped to achieve by nominating Jordan to the committee:
What Jordan’s presence on the committee ensures then is that it will be a circus. Jordan will try to focus on debunked conspiracy theories about Antifa being involved in the January 6 riots. He will bully witnesses brought by Democrats to testify about their recollection of that day. He will defend Trump despite the former President’s clear involvement in inciting the January 6 crowd and his unwillingness to immediately speak out when it became clear the protests had turned violent.
According to The Associated Press, Banks recently traveled with Trump to the U.S.-Mexico border and has spent time at the former president’s New Jersey golf club.
Pelosi’s decision clearly angered McCarthy. CNN reports that “the refusal by the leader of House Republicans to participate is sure to inject even more partisanship into the already high-profile committee.”