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Pelosi says Jan 6 panel will move forward without GOP picks

WASHINGTON (AP) – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said a committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol uprising “will do the job it has set itself” despite Republicans’ vows to boycott the ‘investigation.

GOP House Leader Kevin McCarthy said on Wednesday Republicans would not participate after Pelosi rejected two of the he chose to On the panel, representatives Jim Banks of Indiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio. Pelosi made it clear on Thursday that she would not back down, telling reporters the two “took steps that made them look ridiculous to put them on such a truth-seeking committee.”

“It’s my responsibility as Speaker of the House to make sure we get the truth about this, and we won’t let their antics stand in the way of that,” Pelosi said.

The banks and Jordan are outspoken allies of former President Donald Trump, whose supporters besieged the Capitol on January 6 and halted President Joe Biden’s certification of electiwin. Both men voted to overturn the election results within hours of the siege.

It is not clear, at this time, whether Pelosi will attempt to nominate other members of the group, as she has the authority to do under the rules of the committee. She left the possibility open, saying that there are other members who would like to participate. “We will see.”

One possibility is Illinois Representative Adam Kinzinger, who was one of only two Republicans to vote in favor of creating the committee. The other, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, has previously been nominated by Pelosi to sit on the panel with seven Democrats – making sure they have quorum to proceed whether or not other Republicans participate.

The back-and-forths above the panel are emblematic of the heightened political tensions in Congress that have only intensified since the insurgency and raise the possibility that the investigation – the only full investigation currently being conducted into the attack – may be almost run entirely by Democrats. The House voted in May to create an independent inquiry that would have been split evenly across parties, but Senate Republicans blocked that approach in a vote last month.

McCarthy called Pelosi’s decision a “flagrant abuse of power” and said it would damage the institution of Congress.

“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.

It is unclear how McCarthy would conduct a separate investigation, as the minority does not have the power to create committees. He said the panel lost “all legitimacy” because Pelosi would not allow Republicans to appoint their own members.

Most GOP members have remained loyal to Trump despite a violent insurgency by his supporters that sent many lawmakers running for their lives. McCarthy did not say for weeks whether Republicans would even participate in the inquiry, but he sent all five names to Pelosi on Monday.

Pelosi accepted McCarthy’s other three picks – Illinois Rep Rodney Davis, North Dakota Rep Kelly Armstrong and Texas Rep Troy Nehls. But McCarthy said all five or none would participate.

Like Jordan and Banks, Nehls voted to undo Biden’s victory. Armstrong and Davis voted to certify the election.

Banks recently traveled with Trump to the US-Mexico border and visited him at his New Jersey golf course. In a statement after McCarthy selected him for the panel, he sharply criticized the Democrats who put him in place.

“Make no mistake, Nancy Pelosi created this committee only to slander the Conservatives and justify the authoritarian left agenda,” Banks said.

Democrats Pelosi appointed to the committee earlier this month were angry at the statement, according to a senior Democratic official familiar with the private deliberations and who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss it. They were also concerned about Banks’ two recent visits with Trump, the person said.

Jordan, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, has been one of Trump’s strongest supporters in his two impeachments and last month compared the new inquiry to “impeachment three.” Trump was impeached by the House and acquitted by the Senate each time.

Cheney has said she will back the nomination of her Republican colleague Kinzinger if Pelosi takes this route. Maryland Democrat Jamie Raskin said he would be open to anyone who doesn’t want to hinder the work of the committee, and “I’m sure Kinzinger doesn’t want to hinder the work of the committee.”

The panel is also considering hiring former Rep. Denver Riggleman of Virginia, a Republican who criticized Trump’s lies about electoral fraud, as an outside advisor, according to a person familiar with the work of the committee that secured the election. anonymity to discuss private interviews.

Cheney told reporters on Wednesday that she agreed with Pelosi’s decision to dismiss the two Republicans nominated by McCarthy.

“At every opportunity, the Minority Leader tried to prevent the American people from understanding what happened – to block this investigation,” Cheney said.

The panel will hold its first hearing next week, with at least four base police officers who fought rioters that day, testifying about their experiences. Dozens of police were injured when the violent crowd passed them and stormed into the Capitol building.

Mississippi representative Bennie Thompson, chairman of the panel, said the committee will carry out its duties.

“It has been more than 6 months since the attack, we owe it to our democracy to stay the course and not be distracted by side shows,” Thompson said in a statement. “This is exactly what we will do next Tuesday, when members of the bipartisan committee collect testimonies from frontline heroes who risk their lives to protect our democracy. “

Seven people died during and after the riots, including a woman who was shot dead by police as she tried to break into the House bedroom and three other Trump supporters who suffered medical emergencies.

Two police officers died by suicide in the days that followed, and a third officer, Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, collapsed and later died after engaging with protesters. A medical examiner determined he died of natural causes.

Associated Press writer Kevin Freking in Washington contributed to this report.


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