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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Pelosi barred Trump aides from January 6 probe, may boycott GOP

by Marie Claire Jalonik

WASHINGTON (AP) – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday rejected two Republicans tapped by House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy to sit on a committee investigating the Jan. condemned as a serious abuse”.

McCarthy said the GOP would not participate in the investigation if Democrats did not accept the members he had appointed.

Pelosi cited the “integrity” of the investigation in refusing to accept the appointments of Indiana Representative Jim Banks, who was chosen by McCarthy as the top Republican on the panel, or Ohio Representative Jim Jordan. Both are vocal allies of former President Donald Trump, whose supporters laid siege to the Capitol that day and obstructed President Joe Biden’s certification of victory.

Democrats have said the investigation will continue to see whether Republicans participate, as Pelosi has already appointed eight of the 13 members — including Republican Representative Liz Cheney, a Trump critic — and that it will allow her to rule the committee. A quorum is given to proceed accordingly.

Hours after the rebellion, both Banks and Jordan voted to reverse Joe Biden’s presidential victory. Pelosi said she had spoken to McCarthy and told him she would decline both names.

“With respect to the integrity of the investigation, with emphasis on the truth and concern about the statements and actions made by these members, I must reject the recommendations of Representative Banks and Jordan to the Select Committee,” Pelosi said. said.

The move marks the raw political tension in the Congress that has only escalated since the rebellion. House Democrats originally tried to create an independent investigation that would have been split more evenly between the parties, but Senate Republicans blocked that approach in a vote last month.

Following Pelosi’s announcement Wednesday morning, McCarthy immediately issued a statement saying his move would harm the institution of Congress.

“Unless Speaker Pelosi reverses course and gives seats to all five Republican candidates, Republicans will not be a party to their pretentious process and will instead conduct our own investigation of the facts,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy criticized the Democratic leader at a news conference with all five members. He said the panel had lost “all legitimacy” because Pelosi would not allow Republicans to name its members.

“The only way to reverse this is to make these five sit,” McCarthy said.

Most in the GOP have remained loyal to Trump despite the violent rebellion of his supporters, which sent many of them running for their lives. McCarthy had not said for weeks whether Republicans would also participate in the investigation, but on Monday he sent Pelosi five names.

Pelosi said in the statement that she accepted McCarthy’s three other choices — Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis, North Dakota Rep. Kelly Armstrong and Texas Rep. Troy Nehls. But McCarthy said all or none would participate.

Like Jordan and Banks, Nehls voted to reverse Biden’s victory. Armstrong and Davis voted to substantiate the election.

Back and forth came, but two Republicans opposed the creation of a 13-person select committee in a House vote last month, with most of the GOP arguing that the majority-democratic panel would conduct a partisan investigation. Only Cheney and Republican Representative Adam Kizinger of Illinois voted in favor of the panel.

Banks recently traveled with Trump to the US-Mexico border and visited him at his New Jersey golf course. In a statement after McCarthy tapped him for the panel, he sharply criticized the Democrats who founded it.

“Make no mistake, Nancy Pelosi created this committee solely to discredit conservatives and justify a left-wing authoritarian agenda,” Banks said.

Democrats whom Pelosi appointed to the committee earlier this month were outraged by that statement, according to a senior Democratic aide who was familiar with the private deliberations and allowed anonymity to discuss them. . The person said they were also concerned about two recent visits to Banks with Trump.

Jordan, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, was one of Trump’s most vocal defenders during his two impeachments and compared the new investigation last month to “impeachment three.” Trump was impeached by the House and acquitted by the Senate both times.

Pelosi has the authority to approve or reject members according to the rules of the committee, although she acknowledged that her transfer was unusual. She said “the unprecedented nature of January 6 demands this unprecedented decision.”

Pelosi earlier this month nominated eight members to the panel — seven Democrats and Republican Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who has strongly criticized Trump and has been the most vocal member of his caucus against the rebellion. Cheney, who was demoted from the GOP leadership in May because of his comments, was one of two Republicans who voted to form the committee along with Illinois Representative Adam Kinzinger.

The panel will hold its first hearing next week, with at least four rank-and-file police officers who fought rioters that day testifying about their experiences. Dozens of police officers were injured as the crowd pushed them back and broke into the Capitol building.

Seven people died during and after the riots, including a woman who was shot by police as she tried to break into a House chamber and three other Trump supporters who suffered medical emergencies was. Two police officers died by suicide in the following days, and a third officer, Capitol Police Officer Brian Siknick, collapsed and later died after engaging with protesters. A medical examiner determined that he died of natural causes.

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Associated Press writer Kevin Freking contributed to this report.

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