House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday defended her decision to reject two Republicans tapped by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to sit on a select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.
“This is deadly serious,” Pelosi said during her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill. “This is about our Constitution.”
Her remarks came a day after she formally barred Reps. Jim Banks, R-Ind., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, from the 13-member select committee set up by Pelosi to investigate the attack. McCarthy — who had named Banks, Jordan and three other Republicans to the committee — said that unless Pelosi seated all five, he would withdraw all his choices and launch his own investigation.
“It’s my responsibility as the speaker of the House to get to the truth on this,” Pelosi said Thursday. “And we will not allow their antics stand in the way of that.”
Banks and Jordan are staunch allies of former President Donald Trump and voted to reject the election results in the hours after the siege.
Pelosi insisted that her opposition to having them on the panel had nothing to do with their vote, but that they had “made statements and taken actions” that would threaten the integrity of the committee.
The House speaker appointed eight people to the panel, including one Republican — Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who voted to impeach Trump after the deadly riot — giving her a bipartisan quorum to proceed, according to committee rules. (If McCarthy does not fill the five other seats set aside for Republicans, Pelosi could fill them herself.)
Pelosi said Thursday that she was ready to move forward with the committee, which is scheduled to hold its first hearing next week.
“It is bipartisan, and it has a quorum and it will the do the job it set out to do,” she said. “And that is investigate the causes of what happened on Jan. 6.”
Pelosi knocked GOP members who downplayed the attack on the Capitol.
“It was not all love, hugs and kisses as it has been characterized,” she said.
Pelosi also dismissed GOP criticism that the select committee was another attempt by Democrats to malign the former president.
“We’re there to seek the truth,” she said, “not to get Trump.”
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