WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday named Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois to the select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
“He brings great patriotism to the committee’s mission: to find the facts and protect our democracy,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement announcing her decision. “It is imperative that we get to the truth of that day and ensure that such an attack can never again happen."
Pelosi's move comes after she rejected two GOP lawmakers named to the committee by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, setting off a firestorm and prompting Republican leaders to yank their entire slate of picks for the panel.
Pelosi said two of McCarthy's choices – Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jim Banks of Indiana – would have undermined the integrity of the committee's work because of their earlier statements about the Jan. 6 attack, in which supporters of former President Donald Trump tried to stop the certification of Joe Biden's 2020 election as president.
"There's no way I would tolerate their antics as we seek the truth," Pelosi said Sunday in defending her decision to bar Jordan and Banks from the committee. She made the remarks during an interview on ABC's "This Week," in which she also hinted that she would name Kinzinger to the panel.
The Illinois Republican vowed to "work diligently to ensure we get to the truth" about the Capitol riot.
“This moment requires a serious, clear-eyed, non-partisan approach," he said in a statement after Pelosi's announcement. "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 committee is scheduled to hold its first hearing on Tuesday.
Kinzinger and Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., were the only two House Republicans to vote in favor of creating the panel, which will investigate the Capitol riot and make recommendations about how to avoid another attack.
Pelosi already has named Cheney to the committee, along with seven Democrats.
Cheney and Kinzinger have been sharply critical of McCarthy and other House Republicans' refusal to address the Jan. 6 attack. McCarthy, R-Calif., and other Republicans seem particularly reluctant to probe Trump's role in fueling the riot as he spread false claims that the 2020 election was rigged against him.
"Maybe the Republicans can’t handle the truth, but we have a responsibility to seek it," Pelosi said Sunday.
Pelosi created the select committee only after Republicans in Congress killed legislation that would have established a bipartisan independent commission to investigate the insurrection.
Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania who supported the creation of an independent commission, called the attack “a terrible episode in our history which Donald Trump was at the heart of” during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
But Toomey suggested the House select committee’s inquiry would be driven by partisan politics.
“It is politically to the advantage of Democrats to try to keep this issue in the forefront,” Toomey said, arguing it’s a way to distract from Biden’s policies.
McCarthy, who opposed creating a bipartisan independent commission, also accused Pelosi of playing politics with the investigation.
“The speaker has structured this select committee to satisfy her political objectives," he said in a statement Sunday after Pelosi named Kinzinger to the committee.
McCarthy named five Republicans to the House select committee last week: In addition to Banks and Jordan, he selected Reps. Rodney Davis of Illinois, Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota and Troy Nehls of Texas.
Pelosi said she would have accepted the latter three. But she rejected Banks and Jordan, both of whom had opposed certifying the results of the election and have criticized the select committee's investigation.
Banks and Jordan have "made statements and ... (taken) actions that just made it ridiculous to put them on such a committee seeking the truth," Pelosi told reporters last week.
In an appearance on Fox News, Banks accused Pelosi of being more interested in pushing a specific narrative than investigating the attack on the Capitol.
Pelosi only wants members on the Jan 6 committee who will read her talking points.
— Jim Banks (@RepJimBanks) July 25, 2021
"She has already predetermined a narrative about Donald Trump, about Republicans," the Indiana Republicans said on "Fox News Sunday." "She doesn’t want to talk about what happened at the Capitol that day."
Banks said Pelosi was "ultimately responsible for the breakdown of security at the Capitol" on Jan. 6.
McCarthy blasted Pelosi's rejection of Banks and Jordan as "an egregious abuse of power," and he has threatened to launch a separate Republican-led inquiry.
“Unless Speaker Pelosi reverses course and seats all five Republican nominees, Republicans will not be party to their sham process and will instead pursue our own investigation of the facts," McCarthy said in a statement last week.
In a letter Friday, the House Freedom Caucus, a band of hard-core conservatives, urged McCarthy to try to remove Pelosi as speaker over her refusal to seat Jordan and Banks on the committee. The caucus called her move “intolerable” and said it was evidence that she “has no interest in representative democracy.”
McCarthy has not publicly commented on the Freedom Caucus’s request, which would almost certainly fail in the House, where Democrats have a majority.
In her interview on ABC, Pelosi shrugged off the Freedom Caucus letter.
“I'm not concerned about a threat from the Freedom Caucus," she said. "We get those every day of the week.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Pelosi to name GOP Rep. Kinzinger to panel probing Jan. 6 Capitol riot