McCarthy ‘shocked’ Cheney accepted Jan. 6 panel assignment from Pelosi
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Thursday that he was “shocked” that Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) would accept an invitation from Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to serve on the new select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
McCarthy said that he hadn’t heard from Cheney and suggested that she is more allied with Democrats than the party in which she served as the third-ranking leader until her ouster in May.
“I was shocked that she would accept something from Speaker Pelosi,” McCarthy told reporters in the Capitol.
“It would seem to me, since I didn’t hear from her, maybe she’s closer to [Pelosi] than us. I don’t know,” he said.
McCarthy and his allies backed ousting Cheney as the House GOP conference chair for repeatedly pushing back on former President Trump’s false claims of election fraud and directly blaming him for inciting the mob of his supporters who tried to stop Congress from ratifying the election results.
When a reporter asked McCarthy if he believed Trump is accountable in any way for what led to the Jan. 6 attack, he avoided directly responding and pivoted to a recent Senate committee report that outlined law enforcement agencies’ failure to prepare for the violence.
“There’s so many failures along that way that happened the days before that allowed individuals to get into the building,” McCarthy said, ignoring the reporter’s attempt to press again specifically about Trump’s role.
McCarthy further said that he is “not threatening anybody with committee assignments,” but nevertheless indicated that Cheney was on thin ice with House Republicans for accepting the select committee assignment from Pelosi.
“I don’t know in history where someone would go get their committee assignments from the Speaker and expect to have them from the conference as well,” McCarthy said.
Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) — who recently said he hasn’t spoken with McCarthy in months — were the only Republicans to vote in favor of creating the House select committee Wednesday.
Cheney said that she is “honored” to be named to the panel.
“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,” Cheney said in a statement on Thursday.
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) will serve as the select panel’s leader. Pelosi’s other Democratic picks for the panel include Administration Committee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (Calif.) and Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (Calif.), as well as Reps. Pete Aguilar (Calif.), Jamie Raskin (Md.), Stephanie Murphy (Fla.) and Elaine Luria (Va.).
Pelosi previously tapped Raskin to serve as the lead House prosecutor during Trump’s second impeachment trial earlier this year.
“It is clear that Jan. 6 was not simply an attack on a building, but an attack on our very democracy: an attack on the peaceful transfer of power. It is imperative that we find the truth of that day and ensure that such an assault on our Capitol and democracy cannot ever again happen,” Pelosi said when announcing the select committee members on Thursday.
McCarthy will be able to name five members to the select committee, but he gave no indication who, if anyone, he will choose to serve.
“When I have news on that, I’ll give it to you,” McCarthy said.
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