Cheney, Kinzinger are sole GOP votes for Jan. 6 select committee
Only two of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Trump for inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection, Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), backed creating a select committee to investigate the attack on the Capitol.
While 35 House Republicans voted last month to create an independent bipartisan commission to investigate Jan. 6, only two of them endorsed a House select committee in the largely party-line 222-190 vote on Wednesday.
Neither Cheney nor Kinzinger has ruled out the possibility of serving on the committee if asked by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who has indicated she may include a Republican among her eight picks for slots on the 13-member panel.
Cheney, who was ousted from her third-ranking House GOP leadership post in May over her anti-Trump rhetoric and actions, blasted her party’s leaders in a statement ahead of the vote for failing to push back against Trump’s false claims that the election was stolen from him.
Some House Republicans have since tried to downplay the severity of the attack by the mob of Trump’s supporters who were trying to stop Congress from ratifying President Biden’s electoral victory, including questioning whether they were really the former president’s followers and comparing it to a “normal tourist visit.”
“Since January 6th, the courage of my party’s leaders has faded. But the threat to our Republic has not,” Cheney said. “On an almost daily basis, Donald Trump repeats the same statements that provoked violence before. His attacks on our Constitution are accelerating. Our responsibility is to confront these threats, not appease and deflect.”
Cheney added that she would have preferred an independent bipartisan commission to investigate Jan. 6 instead, acknowledging that “it is right to be wary of an overly partisan inquiry.” But since Senate Republicans blocked legislation to establish such a commission last month, Cheney argued that the select committee “is our only remaining option.”
Kinzinger similarly said that the select committee was the best remaining option “to conduct a thorough investigation of this most egregious attack on the Capitol.”
“With the number of conspiracy theories being perpetuated by media outlets and spreading wildly online, we have to push back with the facts and ensure what happened on January 6th never happens again. We have to put the partisan political divisions aside and put the interests of our country and our democracy at the forefront. And as I said before, we cannot let fear stop us from doing what is right,” Kinzinger said.
But the other eight Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in January — Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler (Wash.), John Katko (N.Y.), Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio), Peter Meijer (Mich.), Dan Newhouse (Wash.), Tom Rice (S.C.), Fred Upton (Mich.) and David Valadao (Calif.) — voted the party line on Wednesday, arguing that a select committee composed of mostly Democrats would be overly partisan.
All of the House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump had backed the commission bill last month.
Herrera Beutler — who was highly critical of Trump’s actions on Jan. 6, voted to impeach him afterward and supported the formation of an independent commission to investigate the attack — argued the select committee wouldn’t be taken seriously.
“If we move forward in a partisan manner, the truth about Jan. 6 will never be fully known — or respected,” she said.
Katko, the top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee who negotiated the commission bill and voted to impeach Trump, also said the select committee was the wrong approach.
“It would be a turbo-charged partisan exercise, not an honest fact-finding body that the American people and the Capitol Police deserve,” Katko said ahead of Wednesday’s vote.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) will be able to name five members to the select committee. But Katko indicated he has no interest in serving on the panel.
“Recognizing the deeply disappointing departure this represents from a truly bipartisan solution, I have a hard time envisioning a scenario where I would participate, if asked,” Katko said.
Earlier in the day, Kinzinger had confirmed in an interview with Fox 32 Chicago that he would vote in favor of the resolution, though he said he would have preferred the bipartisan commission.
“I’ll be voting for this today. It’s not my favorite option, but the point is we can’t keep pretending that Jan. 6 didn’t happen. We need full accounting for it, and then we can move on,” Kinzinger said.
Mike Lillis and Jordan Williams contributed. Updated at 4:42 p.m.