WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., rejected two of Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's picks for the select committee formed to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, prompting McCarthy to vow to pull all of his proposed appointees.
Pelosi spoke with McCarthy, R-Calif., on Wednesday morning "about the objections raised" to his decision to appoint Republican Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio and "the impact their appointments could have on the integrity of the investigation," she said in a statement.
Banks and Jordan supported objections to the election results during the formalization of President Joe Biden's victory on Jan. 6, which was temporarily disrupted by the violent mob of former President Donald Trump's supporters.
The select committee "is nothing more than a partisan political charade," Jordan said in response to Pelosi's statement.
Pelosi said she "is prepared to appoint" McCarthy's other picks, Republican Reps. Rodney Davis of Illinois, Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota and Troy Nehls of Texas, and asked him to recommend two other members.
Asked by reporters about her decision to reject Banks and Jordan but not Nehls, who also voted to overturn the election, Pelosi said, "That was not the criteria."
Calling Pelosi's move an abuse of power, McCarthy then vowed in a statement to withdraw all of his picks and said Republicans "will instead pursue our own investigation of the facts."
"I think it's very clear to the American public this is a sham. We will make sure we get to the real answers," McCarthy said at a news conference Wednesday after her announcement.
Pelosi is allowed to veto McCarthy's picks, which must be made in consultation with her, and the committee can proceed without those five members. The committee's first hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.
Members were outraged by comments made by Banks, as well as a trip to the border that included photos of Republican members taken with someone who had participated in the riot, said a senior Democratic aide familiar with the deliberations.
Banks said in a statement: "The American people deserve the truth. Unfortunately, Speaker Pelosi is afraid of the facts."
The White House said in a statement that Biden believes the riot deserves "a full, independent, and transparent investigation to ensure something like that never happens again" and that he has "full confidence in the Speaker's ability to lead that work."
Pelosi announced her appointments to the committee this month, including Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff, Zoe Lofgren and Pete Aguilar, all of California, Stephanie Murphy of Florida, Jamie Raskin of Maryland and Elaine Luria of Virginia.
Pelosi also appointed Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who was ousted as chairwoman of the House Republican Conference after she criticized Trump and fellow Republicans for continuing to push false claims of fraud in the 2020 election.
Speaking to reporters on the Capitol steps, Cheney said Banks and Jordan had disqualified themselves, and she said McCarthy's comments were "disingenuous."
"I am absolutely confident we will have a nonpartisan investigation, that it will look at the facts, that it will go wherever the facts may lead," she said.