House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shot back at House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy on Thursday, saying the Jan. 6 select committee is “deadly serious” after McCarthy accused Pelosi of an “egregious abuse of power.”
“It’s my responsibility as speaker of the House, to make sure we get to the truth on this, and we will not let their antics stand in the way of that,” she said at her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill.
The boiling tensions between the two come after Pelosi rejected two of McCarthy’s nominees for the committee — Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan and Indiana Rep. Jim Banks — citing concerns with “statements made and actions taken by these members” that might compromise the integrity of the investigation. Jordan and Banks are vocal allies of former President Donald Trump and supported his efforts to overturn the election.
“It’s bipartisan, and we have a quorum. Staff is being hired to do the job,” Pelosi continued. “We’re there to get the truth, not to get Trump.”
While Pelosi accepted McCarthy’s other three picks — Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis, North Dakota Rep. Kelly Armstrong and Texas Rep. Troy Nehls — McCarthy threatened Wednesday to pull all of his members.
“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 at a news conference.
McCarthy on Thursday continued to insist that Pelosi’s decision to veto two of his appointees is unprecedented.
“I checked with the historian,” McCarthy said following Pelosi’s news conference.
“The idea that she’s going to pick and choose — you’re not going to get an outcome,” McCarthy said, casting doubt on the work the committee is slated to do.
When asked what is wrong with having one or two Republicans serve on the House’s Jan. 6 committee, McCarthy said, “this is a sham committee that’s just politically driven by Speaker Pelosi.”
McCarthy wouldn’t answer questions on whether he would strip committee assignments from Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., who is on the committee, or Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., who is reported as being considered, but instead pivoted his message to his grievances with Democrats.
Earlier, Pelosi acknowledged at her press conference that Nehls had also voted against certifying election results for President Joe Biden, but said the two members she rejected, Jordan and Banks, had gone beyond that.
“The other two made statements and took actions that just made it ridiculous to put them on such a committee seeking the truth,” she said.
She said some counseled her to allow Jordan and Banks on the committee “and then when they act up you can take them off,” she disclosed. “I said, ‘why should we waste time on something so predictable?'”
“I’m not going to spend any more time talking about them,” she added later.
Back in May, Senate Republicans killed a proposal for an independent, bipartisan commission that would have given Republicans equal representation to investigate the Capitol attack. Under the House select committee proposal, which was approved by the House mostly along party lines with GOP Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger or Illinois joining Democrats, Pelosi gets seven appointments and McCarthy has five.
Pelosi also maintained the power to reject McCarthy’s appointments, which she exercised Wednesday.
The House Select Committee was expected to hold its first hearing on Tuesday. Capitol police officers who protected members of Congress on Jan. 6 are among the first witnesses.
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