House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Sunday that she has appointed Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger to the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol, bolstering the Republican presence on the panel after GOP leadership withdrew its appointees last week.
“Today, I am announcing the appointment of Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger, an Air Force veteran and Lieutenant Colonel in the Air National Guard, to serve on the Select Committee,” Pelosi said in a statement. “He brings great patriotism to the Committee’s mission: to find the facts and protect our Democracy.”
Kinzinger, a vocal critic of former President Donald Trump who voted for his second impeachment, will join Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney as the only Republicans on the new select committee, which will hold its first hearing on Tuesday.
“Let me be clear, I’m a Republican dedicated to conservative values, but I swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution—and while this is not the position I expected to be in or sought out, when duty calls, I will always answer,” the Illinois Republican said in a statement Sunday.
Kinzinger’s appointment may lend more legitimacy to one of the most consequential investigations ever conducted by Congress, making it more difficult for Republicans to argue that it is a partisan endeavor – despite the fact that they quickly framed Pelosi’s announcement as such.
“The Speaker has structured this select committee to satisfy her political objectives,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in a statement Sunday.
McCarthy withdrew all five of his Republican appointees from the panel last week after Pelosi rejected two of his nominees, Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio, for their roles in the effort to overturn the presidential election results.
McCarthy also chose Reps. Rodney Davis of Illinois, Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota, and Troy Nehls of Texas. Banks, Jordan, and Nehls all objected to the 2020 presidential election being certified.
Speaker Pelosi’s rejection of the Republican nominees to serve on the committee and self-appointment of members who share her pre-conceived narrative will not yield a serious investigation,” McCarthy said in his Sunday statement.
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Pelosi named Cheney, another vocal Trump critic who voted for his impeachment earlier this year, to the panel earlier this month.
Pelosi had stated earlier on Sunday that appointing Kinzinger to the committee was her “plan.”
“That would be my plan,” she said when ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked if she wanted to include him. Last week, CNN reported that Pelosi was considering Kinzinger for the panel.
“I do believe that the work of this committee, in order to retain the confidence of the American people, must act in a way that has no partisanship, is all about patriotism, and I’m very proud of the members of the committee and I’m very certain they will accomplish that goal. We have to again ignore the antics of those who do not want to find the truth,” Pelosi said on ABC’s “This Week,” referencing Banks and Jordan.
Kinzinger is already facing backlash from his own party as a result of his appointment on Sunday, something Cheney has experienced in great abundance.
Most rank-and-file Republicans were content to let Cheney serve without much of a fight at first, but Kinzinger’s addition has changed the conversation and put a new level of pressure on McCarthy.
“There’s a lot,” one GOP member stated about the push to have the pair removed from their other committees. “Supporting Pelosi’s unprecedented move to reject McCarthy’s picks was a bridge too far.”
According to a source familiar with the planning, Tuesday’s hearing will include new video footage from the perspective of police officers who were engaged with the mob during the attack.
The footage is expected to provide viewers with new perspectives on what first responders witnessed and to further emphasize to the public the violence that occurred.
The testimony of police officers who defended the Capitol that day will also be heard at the hearing. The four officers testifying – DC Metropolitan Police Officers Daniel Hodges and Michael Fanone, as well as Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn and Sgt. Aquilino Gonell – have previously shared their stories, which include being beaten with a flagpole, being the target of racist slurs, being crushed in a door, and being tased by rioters.
On the eve of Pelosi’s announcement, Banks slammed the potential addition of Kinzinger, claiming that Pelosi only wants people “who will stick to her talking points.”
“It’s clear that Pelosi only wants members on this committee who will stick to her talking points and stick to her narrative,” Banks said in an interview with Fox News on Sunday.
“That’s why she’s picked the group that she’s already picked, and anyone that she asked to be on this committee from this point moving forward will be stuck to her narrative.”
Banks revealed that he learned of his removal from the committee by reading Twitter and that he believes Pelosi vetoed his and Jordan’s appointments to the committee because they planned to question the speaker about her role in failing to secure the Capitol on January 6.
“The speaker of the House has more control and authority and responsibility over the leadership of the Capitol Police than anyone else in the United States Capitol, so she doesn’t want us to ask these questions because at the end of the day, she is ultimately responsible for the breakdown of security at the Capitol that happened on January 6,” Banks said.