Mississippi Democrat picked to lead House investigation of Jan. 6 riots at Capitol
Published 11:14 am Thursday, July 1, 2021
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday named Republican Rep. Liz Cheney and seven Democrats to a new select committee to investigate the violent Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol.
Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, will lead the panel. It will investigate what went wrong around the Capitol when hundreds of supporters of then-President Donald Trump broke into the building, hunted for lawmakers and interrupted the congressional certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory.
Cheney, R-Wyo., said in a statement that she is “honored” to serve on the committee and that “Congress is obligated to conduct a full investigation of the most serious attack on our Capitol since 1814.”
The House approved the panel on Wednesday over the objections Republicans. Cheney, who was removed from GOP leadership this year because of her criticism of Trump, was one of only two Republicans who supported forming the committee.
Pelosi, D-Calif., formed the committee after Senate Republicans blocked an independent, bipartisan probe.
Besides Thompson, D-Miss., the other Democratic members of the panel will be Reps. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, Zoe Lofgren of California, Elaine Luria of Virginia, Stephanie Murphy of Florida and Pete Aguilar of Texas.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had threatened to strip Republicans of committee assignments if they accept an appointment from Pelosi to join the committee, a top House GOP aide said Thursday.
The warning by McCarthy, R-Calif., underscores party leaders’ opposition to the committee and their desire to shape the narrative about its work as much as they can. Republicans have complained that the panel will be dominated by Democrats and will produce a skewed, partisan report, even though the GOP previously scuttled an earlier Democratic attempt to form a bipartisan commission.
McCarthy told a closed-door meeting of first-term House GOP members on Wednesday that he, not Pelosi controls Republicans’ committee assignments, the aide said. He told them that if Pelosi names them to the committee and they accept, they should plan on getting all their committee assignments from her — an apparent threat to remove them from their current panels.
The aide spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the private meeting. McCarthy’s threat was first reported by Punchbowl News, a political news organization.
Pelosi had the authority to appoint a chairperson and at least eight of the 13 members. The resolution gives her a possible say in the appointment of the other five members as well, directing that they will be named “after consultation” with McCarthy.
Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, another Trump critic, were the only Republicans to vote in favor of forming the new committee.
GOP leaders have not said whether Republicans will even participate in the new panel.