House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has rejected two of Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's appointees to serve on the House Select Committee to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
In a statement, Pelosi said she had raised objections to the inclusion of House Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) among the five Republicans McCarthy selected to sit on the committee. Banks was to serve as the top Republican on the committee.
Both Banks and Jordan are strong Trump supporters and each voted in January against certifying the Electoral College results declaring President Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 election.
"With respect for the integrity of the investigation, with an insistence on the truth and with concern about statements made and actions taken by these Members, I must reject the recommendations of Representatives Banks and Jordan to the Select Committee," Pelosi said.
"The unprecedented nature of January 6th demands this unprecedented decision," she added.
In response to Pelosi's decision, McCarthy announced he would pull the other three Republicans out of this "sham process" unless all of his choices were accepted.
"Speaker Nancy Pelosi has taken the unprecedented step of denying the minority party's picks for the Select Committee on January 6," McCarthy said. "This represents an egregious abuse of power and will irreparably damage this institution. Denying the voices of members who have served in the military and law enforcement, as well as leaders of standing committees, has made it undeniable that this panel has lost all legitimacy and credibility and shows the Speaker is more interested in playing politics than seeking the truth.
"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," he declared.
Pelosi's rejection of Banks and Jordan comes as somewhat of a surprise as most Democrats had reportedly accepted McCarthy's picks, even if they were upset with the inclusion of a confrontational firebrand like Jordan.
And as for the Republicans in question, neither Banks nor Jordan seems to have anticipated Pelosi's decision. Each lawmaker had already begun previewing how they would tackle the investigation.
Jordan told CNN on Wednesday that he would seek to have Democrats explain why there was a breakdown of security at the Capitol on Jan. 6, when Trump supporters who attended a rally for the president in Washington D.C. formed a violent mob and trespassed at the Capitol building in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying the Electoral College results. Several police officers were assaulted by the mob and one woman, Ashli Babbitt, was shot dead by a Capitol Police officer.
"There's one fundamental question that I hope Democrats will actually answer and address and that is why wasn't there a proper security presence that day?" Jordan asked. "And frankly, only the speaker can answer that question so let's see if the Democrats bring that up."
On Monday, after McCarthy announced his choices, Banks released a statement slamming the committee as an attempt by Democrats "to malign conservatives and to justify the Left's authoritarian agenda."
"Even then, I will do everything possible to give the American people the facts about the lead up to January 6, the riot on that day, and the responses from Capitol leadership and the Biden administration. I will not allow this committee to be turned into a forum for condemning millions of Americans because of their political beliefs," he said.
Now that McCarthy has pulled the the other Republicans off the committee, the only GOP lawmaker to serve will be Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), a fierce Trump critic who was personally appointed by Pelosi to serve as a foil to any pro-Trump Republicans McCarthy selected.
This gives Republicans an opportunity they were seeking to attack the Jan. 6 committee as a partisan effort by Democrats to tie Republicans to the violence on Jan. 6 ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.