House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday announced that she will appoint Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) to serve on the new select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
The House of Representatives voted Wednesday to create the committee, which will combine the various House investigations into the events of Jan. 6 under one roof. Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), two of the most vocally anti-Trump Republicans, were the only GOP lawmakers to join Democrats in voting to establish the select committee.
“We are very honored and proud she has agreed to serve on the committee,” Pelosi told reporters during her weekly news conference.
The committee will consist of eight lawmakers appointed by the speaker and five lawmakers nominated by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) “in consultation” with Pelosi.
Pelosi said Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) will serve as the chairman of the committee. Thompson was the Democratic architect of a deal struck with Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) to form a bipartisan investigation into the Jan. 6 riot, but that legislation died in the U.S. Senate. The other Democrats Pelosi tapped include Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), Stephanie Murphy (D-Calif.), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), and Elaine Luria (D-Va.).
Cheney's inclusion on the committee is a finger in the eye to McCarthy and the rest of the GOP conference, who kicked her out of Republican leadership for her vocal criticism of former President Donald Trump. Cheney was the highest-profile Republican to vote to impeach Trump, whom she blamed for instigating the violence at the Capitol, claiming he “summoned” the rioters there and then “lit the flame of this attack.”
In a statement, Cheney said she was “honored” to have been asked to join Pelosi's select committee.
“Congress is obligated to conduct a full investigation of the most serious attack on our Capitol since 1814. That day saw the most sacred space in our Republic overrun by an angry and violent mob attempting to stop the counting of electoral votes and threatening the peaceful transfer of power,” she said.
“What happened on January 6th can never happen again. Those who are responsible for the attack need to be held accountable and this select committee will fulfill that responsibility in a professional, expeditious, and non-partisan manner.”
McCarthy led Republicans in opposition to creating the select committee after also opposing the failed bipartisan effort. He has not made any indication about who he intends to appoint to the select committee, and on Wednesday, he threatened to strip away the committee assignments of any Republican lawmaker who accepted an offer from Pelosi to join the Jan. 6 investigation.
The Democratic majority on the select committee is likely to seek details of McCarthy's Jan. 6 phone conversation with Trump as part of its investigation. McCarthy has accused the committee of being a “partisan” effort by Democrats and his threat to Republicans appears to be an effort to prevent any probe into his conversation of having the appearance of legitimate bipartisan inquiry.
Cheney was apparently unfazed by the threat, but given how she is reviled among Republican voters for opposing Trump, her presence is unlikely to persuade many that the investigation is anything but a political stunt.
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