Pelosi needs to dam Indiana Rep. Jim Banks from January sixth committee

WASHINGTON (AP) – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday turned down two Republicans recruited by House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy to sit on a committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection, a decision that McCarthy denounced as an “outrageous abuse of power”.

McCarthy said the GOP will not participate in the investigation if the Democrats do not accept the members he has appointed.

Pelosi cited the “integrity” of the investigation refusing to accept the appointments of Indiana Rep. Jim Banks, who was elected top Republican on the panel by McCarthy, or Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan. Both are close allies of former President Donald Trump, whose supporters besieged the Capitol that day.

In the hours following the uprising, both Banks and Jordan voted to overturn Joe Biden’s presidential victory. Pelosi said she spoke to McCarthy and told him she would decline the two names.

McCarthy taps Indiana Rep. Jim Banks to preside over 5 Republicans proposed to attend on Jan. 6

“With respect for the integrity of the investigation, with perseverance for the truth and with concern about the statements and actions of these members, I must reject the recommendations of the representatives of the banks and Jordan to the special committee,” said Pelosi.

McCarthy said in a statement that Pelosi’s move would harm the institution of Congress.

“Unless Spokesman Pelosi reverses his course and sets all five Republican nominees, the Republicans will not participate in their bogus trial and instead conduct our own investigation into the facts,” McCarthy said.

The speaker’s decision is sure to fuel tensions between the two parties over the insurrection and the House of Representatives body, which almost all Republicans opposed. Most GOP members have remained loyal to Trump despite the violent uprising by his supporters that left many of them running for their lives. McCarthy hadn’t said in weeks whether Republicans would even take part in the investigation, but on Monday he sent the five names to Pelosi.

Pelosi said in the statement that she accepted McCarthy’s three other picks – Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis, North Dakota Rep. Kelly Armstrong, and Texas Rep. Troy Nehls. But McCarthy said all or none would attend.

Like Jordan and Banks, Nehls voted to overturn Biden’s victory. Armstrong and Davis voted to confirm the election.

McCarthy’s recommendations eventually came, but two Republicans opposed the creation of the 13-member special committee in a House vote last month, with most in the GOP arguing that the Democratic majority body would conduct a partisan investigation. The Democrats in the House of Representatives initially attempted to create an evenly split, independent commission to investigate the insurrection, but that effort fell short when it was blocked by the Republicans in the Senate.

Banks recently traveled to the US-Mexico border with Trump and visited him on his golf course in New Jersey. In a statement after McCarthy elected him to the body, he sharply criticized the Democrats who set it up.

“Make no mistake, Nancy Pelosi created this committee only to slander conservatives and justify the authoritarian agenda of the left,” said Banks.

Jordan, the top Republican on the House Justice Committee, was one of Trump’s most vocal defenders during his two impeachments, comparing the new investigation last month to “Impeachment Three”. Trump was indicted both times by the House of Representatives and acquitted by the Senate.

Panel chairman Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson said the committee has a quorum to conduct business whether or not GOP members are present.

Pelosi appointed eight members to the panel earlier this month – seven Democrats and Wyoming Republican Liz Cheney, who has harshly criticized Trump and was the most open member of her faction against the insurgency. Cheney, who was demoted by GOP leadership in May for her comments, was one of two Republicans who voted to form the committee, along with Illinois MP Adam Kinzinger.

The panel will hold its first hearing next week, at which at least four ordinary police officers who fought rioters that day will testify about their experiences. Dozens of police officers were injured as the crowd pushed past them and broke into the Capitol.

Seven people died during and after the riot, including a woman who was shot by police while trying to break into the House of Representatives and three other Trump supporters who suffered medical emergencies. Two police officers died of suicide in the days that followed, and a third police officer, Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, collapsed and later died after dealing with the protesters. A coroner determined that he died of natural causes.

McCarthy’s full statement:

“Spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi took the unprecedented step of refusing to elect the minority party to the special committee on January 6th. This represents a monstrous abuse of power and will cause irreparable damage to this institution. Denial of the votes of members who have served in the military and law enforcement, as well as heads of standing committees has made it undeniable that this body has lost all legitimacy and credibility and shows that the speaker is more interested in making politics, than to seek the truth.

“Unless Speaker Pelosi reverses his course and sets all five Republican nominees, Republicans will not participate in their mock trial and instead conduct our own investigation into the facts.”

Declaration by rep. Banks:

“I am a seated member of Congress and have served my country in Afghanistan and the speaker knows how hard I will fight for my country. We’ve been saying all along that this was a purely partisan exercise by the Democrats, and Nancy Pelosi’s disapproval of me and Jim Jordan shows once again that she is the most partisan figure in America today.

The American people deserve the truth. Unfortunately, spokesman Pelosi is afraid of the facts. “

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