Pelosi names Cheney for bipartisan Capitol riot committee as Republican fires back at McCarthy warning not to help: ‘Who gives a s***’

‘I’m honoured to serve on January 6th select committee. Our oath to Constitution must be above partisan politics,’ Cheney says

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Thursday 01 July 2021 17:56
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has named Wyoming Republican Rep Liz Cheney to serve on the select committee that will investigate the 6 January insurrection at the US Capitol.

Ms Cheney was recently dropped from her spot in the GOP leadership because of her relentless criticism of former President Donald Trump. She was one of ten House Republicans to vote to impeach Mr Trump during his second impeachment earlier this year.

The House voted to form the committee on Wednesday on a near-party line vote with Ms Cheney and Illinois Rep Adam Kinzinger being the only Republicans to vote to create the committee.

The Democratic chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Mississippi Rep Bennie Thompson, has been selected to lead the panel.

Other Democrats picked to serve on the committee include California Reps Zoe Lofgren, Adam Schiff, and Pete Aguilar, Florida Rep Stephanie Murphy, Maryland Rep Jamie Raskin, and Virginia Rep Elaine Luria.

Mr Schiff was the lead impeachment manager during Mr Trump’s first impeachment trial; Mr Raskin held the role during the second trial. Ms Lofgren was also an impeachment manager.

Mr Kinzinger fired back at House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy after he told members of his caucus not to accept any bipartisan Capitol riot panel assignments from Ms Pelosi or risk losing any committee assignments provided by GOP leadership.

During a meeting behind closed doors on Wednesday, the minority leader said that if they accept an appointment to the 6 January select committee from the speaker, they should expect to receive all their committee assignments from her, Punchbowl News reported.

Mr McCarthy reportedly made clear that Republicans get their committee assignments from Republicans – not from Democrats – or there would be consequences.

Having already been removed from GOP leadership, Ms Cheney seemed undeterred by the warning.

“I’m honoured to serve on the January 6th select committee. Our oath to the Constitution must be above partisan politics,” she tweeted.

Mr Kinzinger made his feelings clear when asked about the move by Mr McCarthy. “Who gives a s**t”, he told reporters when asked.

“When you’ve got people that say crazy stuff and you’re not gonna make that threat, to make the threat to truth-tellers – you’ve lost, you know any credibility and then so that’s all I’m gonna say on it,” he added.

During a press conference on Thursday, Mr McCarthy denied that he had threatened anyone.

“Congress is obligated to conduct a full investigation of the most serious attack on our Capitol since 1814,” Ms Cheney added in a statement. “That day saw the most sacred space in our Republic overrun by an angry and violent mob attempting to stop the counting of electoral votes and threatening the peaceful transfer of power.”

“What happened on January 6th can never happen again. Those who are responsible for the attack need to be held accountable and this select committee will fulfill that responsibility in a professional, expeditious, and non-partisan manner.

"Our oath to the Constitution, our commitment to the rule of law, and the preservation of the peaceful transfer of power must always be above partisan politics,” Ms Cheney concluded.

Mr McCarthy said it was “unprecedented” for a Republican to receive a committee assignment from a Democratic Speaker.

“I was shocked to hear that she had accepted something” from Ms Pelosi, Mr McCarthy said of Ms Cheney and suggested that she might be closer to Democratic leadership than to the Republicans.

Ms Pelosi said adding Ms Cheney to the panel “gives us great confidence that we will be able to work in a nonpartisan way for the people”.

New York Republican Rep Elise Stefanik replaced Ms Cheney in the GOP leadership. “If she wants to be a pawn of Pelosi, that’s her choice,” she told reporters on Thursday referring to Ms Cheney, according to The Washington Post.

The committee will have eight members appointed by Democrats and five appointed “after consultation with” Mr McCarthy. The panel will have subpoena power, that Chairman Thompson will be able to use at his sole discretion. In order to take depositions, Mr Thompson will have to consult with the senior member of the panel from the minority.

When asked by a reporter if he would appoint members of his own to the panel, Mr McCarthy said: “When I have news on that, I’ll give it to you.”

The creation of the committee comes a month after an effort to create an independent, bipartisan commission was blocked by Republicans in the Senate.

“It was our hope that we could have done this with the bipartisan outside commission,” Ms Pelosi said at a press conference on Thursday. “Maybe one day that will be possible… But I’m very proud. And, as I say, decisions are liberating. They enable you to go to the next step. And the next step for us has always been to seek and find the truth.”

Ms Pelosi is said to be ready to veto the appointment of any GOP member. She’s considering not allowing any Republican who voted against the certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory to serve on the committee, The Guardian reports.

Mr McCarthy could be deposed by the committee because of his phone conversation during the riot with then-President Donald Trump.

Mr Trump and Mr McCarthy engaged in a heated exchange as the minority leader called and asked Mr Trump to intervene to get his supporters to end their attack on the Capitol, according to CNN.

When Mr Trump told the GOP leader that he believed the rioters were members of Antifa, Mr McCarthy told him that they were his supporters.

“Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are,” Mr Trump responded, according to lawmakers Mr McCarthy later spoke to.

The California congressman told the then-president that members of the MAGA mob were trying to break into his office, and asked Mr Trump: “Who the f*** do you think you’re talking to?”

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