House Republicans were reluctant to participate in the House committee investigating the Jan.6 uprising on Wednesday after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dismissed two of the five Republicans, the House minority leader , Kevin McCarthy, had appealed to the panel.
Pelosi’s decision to dismiss the two Republicans – and McCarthy’s response to remove the rest of his members – has injected new fuel into the partisan fight against the select committee that has raged since Democrats created the panel last month to investigate the circumstances surrounding the Jan.6 attack on the Capitol.
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The committee will always have Republican representation from one member: Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, a fierce critic of former President Donald Trump who was one of Pelosi’s eight choices to sit on the committee. Cheney’s involvement maintains the bipartisan committee even without anyone nominated by McCarthy.
Still, Pelosi’s decision gives House Republicans a way to attack the select committee as a partisan effort. McCarthy criticized the move shortly after its announcement on Wednesday.
“Unless President Pelosi changes course and sits on the five Republican nominees, Republicans will not be part of their mock process and instead continue our own investigation of the facts,” McCarthy said.
But the lack of Republicans named by McCarthy on the panel means there will be no more allies of former President Donald Trump when the committee holds high-profile hearings on the Jan.6 attack. Next week’s hearing with four frontline officers on Jan.6 is not delayed, spokesman Drew Hammill told CNN.
Pelosi said in a statement Wednesday that she was vetoing the nomination of two of the five Republicans nominated by McCarthy, Reps Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jim Banks of Indiana. Both are allies of Trump and had opposed the certification of the November 2020 House election on January 6. McCarthy had chosen Banks, the chairman of the Republican study committee, to be the top Republican on the panel.
“With respect for the integrity of the investigation, insisting on the truth and worrying about the statements made and actions taken by these members, I must reject the recommendations of Representatives Banks and Jordan to the select committee,” said Pelosi said. “The unprecedented nature of January 6 demands this unprecedented decision. ”
Pelosi said she approved the nominations of Representatives Rodney Davis of Illinois, Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota and Troy Nehls of Texas. Banks, Jordan and Nehls have all opposed certification of the 2020 presidential election.
Jordan has been a staunch Trump ally and attack dog in Congress, who was added to the House Intelligence Committee in 2019 ahead of the committee’s public impeachment hearings.
“President Pelosi has just admitted the obvious, that the January 6 select committee is nothing more than a partisan political masquerade,” Jordan said in a statement Wednesday.
Since his appointment, Jordan had expressed concerns that the committee would be too focused on Trump and even telegraphed targeting Pelosi as the investigation progressed.
“There is a fundamental question that I hope Democrats will answer and actually address and that is why was there not a proper security presence that day? And frankly, only the speaker can answer that question, so let’s see if Democrats talk about it, ”Jordan said on Tuesday.
Shortly after announcing that she would reject Jordan and Banks, Pelosi dismissed any concerns about the Republicans’ withdrawal from the House of the select committee.
“We have a two-party quorum. We can continue, ”Pelosi said.
Pelosi did not explain why she accepted Nehls but not Jordan and Banks – who all voted to overturn the election results. “That was not the criterion, as I told you yesterday,” Pelosi told CNN.
Earlier this week, Pelosi told CNN that a person’s vote to certify the election would not determine whether they approve it for the committee.
“Be clear, the way people voted to affirm the election of Joe Biden is not a service criterion. It doesn’t matter, ”Pelosi said. But she wouldn’t explain what she weighs in her decision-making.
In announcing his rejection of Banks and Jordan, Pelosi mentioned that there were “objections” with their selections but did not specify what those objections were.
Based on how the committee was created, Pelosi is able to nominate eight members to the committee and McCarthy has five positions “in consultation” with Pelosi – meaning the speaker had the opportunity to oppose its veto on its selections.
Pelosi moved forward with the select committee last month after his efforts to create a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan.6 attack were blocked by Senate Republicans. In the House, 35 Republicans voted in favor of the independent committee, but only two, Cheney and Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, voted in favor of the select committee.
This story and the title were updated with additional developments on Wednesday.
CNN’s Manu Raju and Melanie Zanona contributed to this report.