Pelosi taps Kinzinger to serve on Jan. 6 panel

A second Republican will be joining the special committee examining the Capitol attack of Jan. 6 — but not one that GOP leaders want.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has tapped Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R), an Illinois centrist and a fierce critic of former President Trump, to sit on the panel, which is set this week to launch a comprehensive look into the causes, players and security failures surrounding the deadly siege.

“He brings great patriotism to the Committee’s mission: to find the facts and protect our Democracy,” Pelosi said Sunday in a statement.

Kinzinger, in a biting statement accepting the seat, hammered those Trump allies spreading “lies and conspiracy theories” about the election and the Jan. 6 attack, warning that those voices pose an existential threat to the nation’s democratic traditions.

“Let me be clear, I’m a Republican dedicated to conservative values, but I swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution — and while this is not the position I expected to be in or sought out, when duty calls, I will always answer,” he said.

“This moment requires a serious, clear-eyed, non-partisan approach,” he added. “We are duty-bound to conduct a full investigation on the worst attack on the Capitol since 1814 and to make sure it can never happen again.”

The move was not a surprise.

Kinzinger, a veteran of the Iraq War, was one of just 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in January for inciting the riot and one of just two GOP lawmakers who supported the select committee on which he’ll now sit. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the chairman of the special panel, had forecast Kinzinger’s appointment last week, calling him a “level-headed” lawmaker who “wants to get to the facts.”

Kinzinger will be one of just two Republicans on the special committee, joining Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) on what is now a nine-member panel. Four seats remain vacant.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) pulled all of his GOP nominations from consideration last Wednesday. Pelosi, under the language of the resolution creating the committee, has ultimate power over the section of all 13 members, and McCarthy was protesting her refusal to seat two of his five picks: Reps. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), both ardent Trump supporters the Speaker deemed threats to the “integrity” of the investigation.

Jordan was part of a December meeting between Trump and Republican lawmakers at the White House, where the group discussed plans to protest the election results on Jan. 6, and many Democrats consider him a witness in the investigation. Banks, meanwhile, had issued a statement last week vowing to investigate the Biden administration’s response to Jan. 6, even though Trump was still in office that day.

Both lawmakers have also embraced Trump’s lie about a stolen election, voting to overturn the results in two states just hours after the deadly Jan. 6 attack.

The pair, Pelosi charged last week, “made statements and took actions that just made it ridiculous to put them on such a committee seeking the truth.”

McCarthy, backed by most of his conference, wasted no time bashing Pelosi’s decision as evidence that the select committee is simply a partisan exercise designed to attack Trump and his supporters ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

“This is a sham committee that’s just politically driven by Speaker Pelosi,” he told reporters Thursday.

In the eyes of Republicans, it was not Trump who was at fault for encouraging his supporters to march on the Capitol and block the transfer of power to the election winner; it was Democrats who were to blame for failing to secure the building from the mob when it arrived. They’re blaming Pelosi, in particular.

With that in mind, McCarthy is vowing to launch a separate investigation into the Jan. 6 attack, though it remains unclear how that probe will proceed.

McCarthy has also left open the possibility that the Republicans participating in the select committee could face retribution from the conference. Cheney, in particular, is coming under fire. For her outspoken criticisms of Trump, she had previously been voted out of the Republican leadership ranks and now faces the prospect of losing her seat on the House Armed Services Committee as well.

“The conference will look at it,” McCarthy said.

Pelosi’s select committee will launch its investigation on Tuesday with testimony from four police officers — two representing the U.S. Capitol Police and two with the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department — who had defended the complex on Jan. 6.

“We’re going to tell this story from the beginning. But remember, the moral center of gravity is these officers who put their lives on the line for us,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the select committee.

The probe got off to a rocky start this weekend, when Yahoo News revealed that the committee’s newly hired staff director, David Buckley, had retaliated against a CIA whistleblower when he served as inspector general for the agency. Buckley and the committee have both denied the charge, according to reports.

Via The Hill