House Democrats are brushing off Kevin McCarthy’s attempt to sabotage the investigation into the Capitol attack on Jan. 6, plowing ahead with the probe, and weighing the addition of other Republicans who don’t kneel at Donald Trump’s feet.
On Thursday, the eight members of the select committee examining the siege huddled for more than an hour Thursday in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) office — a strategizing session ahead of the panel’s first hearing next week — as they consider whether to boost their GOP roster beyond Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.).
The select committee’s chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), confirmed that GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) could be invited to serve on the panel. Kinzinger is a centrist who, like Cheney, voted to impeach former President Trump for his role in inciting the insurrection and has been critical of GOP leaders for advancing Trump’s lies about the results of last year’s presidential election.
Thompson said it would “absolutely” benefit the committee to add members after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) decision Wednesday to boycott the process.
“We have positions for 13 people, and I hope we can ultimately get all of them,” he said.
Thompson did not make specific endorsements — “I’m just the mere chairman of the committee,” he quipped — but gave a glowing review of Kinzinger’s character.
“He’s a fine person, level-headed, and wants to get to the facts,” Thompson said.
Meanwhile, Pelosi said a number of Republicans have expressed interest in joining the panel. She also declined to name names, but when asked if she thought Kinzinger would be a good addition, Pelosi said: “Everybody else does.”
No decision has been made yet, and Kinzinger’s office didn’t immediately return a request for comment on Thursday.
McCarthy, for his part, blasted the panel as a partisan “sham” after announcing the day before that he was yanking all five of his GOP picks for the panel in response to Pelosi refusing to allow two of them to be appointed.
“From what the Speaker has done, that puts a great deal of doubt in it,” McCarthy said Thursday of the select committee.
Pelosi maintained that it would have been “ridiculous” to allow two of McCarthy’s picks, Reps. Jim Jordan (Ohio) and Jim Banks (Ind.), to serve on the panel given their particularly close alliances with Trump and string of statements obfuscating the former president’s role on Jan. 6.
She pointed to Banks issuing a statement earlier this week vowing to investigate the Biden administration’s role in Jan. 6 — even though Trump was still in office that day — while making no mention whatsoever of the former president. Banks also arranged a recent trip with Trump to the southern border, where GOP lawmakers were accompanied by a conservative activist who had stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.
“I think that, just to take this to an end, these people are going to act up, cause a problem. And people said to me, ‘Put them on and then when they act up, you can take them off.’ I said, ‘Why should we waste time on something as predictable?’ ” Pelosi said.