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McCarthy expected to appoint Republicans to Jan. 6 select committee

It had been unclear if the Republican House leader would boycott the committee, which was created last week.
Image: House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy speaks during a weekly news conference at the Capitol,
House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy speaks during a weekly news conference at the Capitol, July 1, 2021.Alex Wong / Getty Images

WASHINGTON — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has spoken to multiple Republican members of his conference about serving on the House select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, multiple congressional sources told NBC News.

The discussions signal that he doesn’t plan to boycott the committee, as was initially unclear. He is ultimately expected to make appointments to the five unfilled committee seats, the sources said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has the final say over which lawmakers McCarthy can appoint to the panel.

Some GOP members have publicly volunteered to serve on the committee. Meanwhile, others who have spoken to McCarthy view serving on the committee, whose work could drag well into the 2022 election cycle, less enthusiastically.

Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., the top Republican on the House Administration Committee, is one of the few in his party who have stepped forward to publicly say they’d sit on the committee.

“I would always serve if I was asked but Leader McCarthy is going to have to make the determination, who the best Republicans may or may not be,” Davis, who said he has not spoken to McCarthy about it, said in an interview.

But Davis, who was one of 35 House Republicans who voted for the creation of a January 6 commission, said the current format of the select committee is purely partisan.

“The end result is everything we were worried about, which is Speaker Pelosi creating a partisan circus,” Davis said. “The Democrats don't care what Republicans say, they know this is going to be a one-sided partisan effort. And that's not going to be good for the American people.”

Pelosi's office has not yet been consulted by McCarthy about his potential appointees, according to a spokesman. The speaker's office also declined to say whether there were any selections McCarthy might make that would be rejected outright.

There has been widespread speculation that high-profile Trump allies such as Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Elise Stefanik of New York, Jim Banks of Indiana or Mike Johnson of Louisiana could be asked to serve on the committee. None of those members have responded to requests for comment. McCarthy's office declined to comment.

Pelosi announced her appointees last week, including one Republican, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming. Chaired by Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., who also is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, the select committee’s other members include Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff, Zoe Lofgren and Pete Aguilar of California, Stephanie Murphy of Florida, Jamie Raskin of Maryland, and Elaine Luria of Virginia.

McCarthy refused to answer questions last week about whether he planned to appoint any of his members to the committee, and if he did, whom he was considering.

Before Pelosi announced her appointees, McCarthy was said to have delivered a stark warning during a closed-door meeting with freshman House Republicans, threatening to strip members of their existing committee assignments if they accepted an appointment from Pelosi. The minority leader later said publicly that he was “not making any threats about committee assignments.”

The discussions among McCarthy and GOP members about serving on the committee come a day after the six-month anniversary of the riot involving hundreds of Trump supporters, many of whom stormed the Capitol in an effort to interrupt the counting of the electoral votes confirming Joe Biden’s victory.