Pelosi May Pick Republican to Join Jan. 6 Inquiry Committee

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Politics|Pelosi may put a Republican on a proposed committee to investigate the Capitol riot.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/28/us/politics/jan-6-commission.html

“It is imperative that we establish the truth of that day and ensure such an attack cannot again happen,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.
Credit...Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Nicholas Fandos

  • June 28, 2021

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has moved to create a House select committee to investigate the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, introducing a measure laying out a proposed 13-member panel while an aide suggested she might include a Republican among her appointees.

With a vote on the committee’s creation expected this week, the resolution laid out the parameters for a broad inquiry into “the facts, circumstances and causes relating to the Jan. 6, 2021, domestic terrorist attack” by a pro-Trump mob. The panel would have full subpoena power and a mandate to look deep into the web of disinformation and partisan animus that fueled the attack, as well as institutional failures that hampered the law enforcement response.

“Jan. 6 was one of the darkest days in our nation’s history,” Ms. Pelosi, Democrat of California, said in a statement. “It is imperative that we establish the truth of that day and ensure such an attack cannot again happen.”

The speaker said she was proceeding reluctantly after Senate Republicans blocked the creation of an independent commission that would have moved an investigation of the attack outside the politically charged halls of Congress. After months of pushing for such a body, Ms. Pelosi said there was “no prospect for additional votes from Republican senators,” whom she accused of putting their party’s interests above the country’s.

Ms. Pelosi and her leadership team expect the select committee measure to pass this week with almost all Democratic votes. Only 35 House Republicans voted to create a bipartisan independent commission, which their leaders portrayed as a partisan attack on Mr. Trump meant to kneecap the party in the 2022 elections. Even fewer are expected to embrace a panel with a Democratic majority.

Representative John Katko of New York, an outspoken Republican supporter of an independent commission, embodied the shift. On Monday, he said he would not only vote against the select committee but also probably refuse to serve on it if asked.

“It would be a turbocharged partisan exercise, not an honest fact-finding body that the American people and Capitol Police deserve,” Mr. Katko said in a statement.

Under Ms. Pelosi’s proposal, Democrats would fill eight of the panel’s seats with appointees of their choice and select an additional five “after consultation with the minority leader,” Representative Kevin McCarthy of California. Mr. McCarthy has not said whether he will recommend members, though last week, he told police officers injured in the attack that he would take the appointment process seriously.

Ms. Pelosi would also name the committee’s chairman. Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the head of the Homeland Security Committee, is considered a leading contender.

Ms. Pelosi appeared to be making preparations in case Mr. McCarthy recommended the appointment of lawmakers who had tried to downplay or deny the attack, which sent the vice president and members of Congress fleeing for their lives, left several people dead and injured about 140 police officers.

One of her aides said she was considering picking a Republican who has taken the attack seriously for one of her eight slots. Though the aide did not say whom the speaker had in mind, speculation immediately turned to Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, a former member of House Republican leadership who was removed from her post after she pushed the party to hold itself and former President Donald J. Trump responsible for fomenting the violence with false claims that the 2020 election had been stolen.

Ms. Cheney told reporters Monday evening that she had not spoken to Ms. Pelosi about the panel. Asked if she would serve if requested, Ms. Cheney said, “It’s up to the speaker.”

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