The newly created select committee charged with investigating the Jan. 6 attack will launch the probe with witness testimony from Capitol Police officers who were on duty during the deadly riot.
Rep. Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonExecutive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump Jan. 6 panel subpoenas four ex-Trump aides Bannon, Meadows Democratic anger grows over treatment of Haitian migrants MORE (D-Miss.), the chairman of the select committee, made the announcement Thursday afternoon after huddling in the office of Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi: House must pass 3 major pieces of spending legislation this week Sunday shows preview: Pelosi announces date for infrastructure vote; administration defends immigration policies GOP should grab the chance to upend Pelosi's plan on reconciliation MORE (D-Calif.), who had named eight members of the 13-member committee just hours earlier.
Thompson did not specify when the hearing will occur or which officers the committee would call to appear. But he made clear that the process will begin with or without the participation of Republican appointments to the panel — a commitment that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble Fifth House Republican comes out in support of bipartisan infrastructure bill Watch live: McCarthy holds briefing with reporters MORE (R-Calif.) has not yet made.
"Although we eagerly await the arrival of our five other colleagues, many of us hope to begin the process with a hearing in which the Capitol Police officers themselves could be able to testify about their experiences," Thompson said.
Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyThe Memo: Trump's Arizona embarrassment sharpens questions for GOP House passes sweeping defense policy bill Trump rips Bush for backing Cheney MORE (Wyo.), the only GOP lawmaker on the select committee, has come under fire from fellow Republicans for accepting Pelosi's invitation, and McCarthy is said to be weighing whether House GOP lawmakers will remove Cheney from her sitting committees.
Cheney said she has not heard from McCarthy about that prospect either way, but was quick to add that her adherence to the Constitution outweighs her committee assignments.
"My oath, my duty — all of our oaths and our duties to the Constitution — will always be above politics," she said.
McCarthy can name five members to the select committee, but has not indicated whether he will. But he and most other Republicans have made clear that they view the investigation as a partisan witch hunt designed to tarnish former President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE and his GOP allies for their role in the Jan. 6 attack. Since a number of sitting committees are already investigating the riot, they contend, the select committee is simply unnecessary. And only two Republicans — Cheney and Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerThe Memo: Trump's Arizona embarrassment sharpens questions for GOP The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble Fifth House Republican comes out in support of bipartisan infrastructure bill MORE (Ill.) — voted to create the panel when the legislation hit the floor on Wednesday.
Democrats have rejected the idea that the select committee is redundant, arguing the need for one panel to be focused on Jan. 6 and nothing else.
"The Speaker's made clear she wants them to continue pursuing the work that they're doing, but there needs to be one committee whose focus is solely on this matter and compiling the comprehensive and authoritative report," said Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffJan. 6 panel subpoenas four ex-Trump aides Bannon, Meadows Schiff: Criminal contempt charges possible for noncooperation in Jan. 6 probe The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Biden jumps into frenzied Dem spending talks MORE (D-Calif.), chairman of the Intelligence Committee and a member of the select committee.
"There's still a tremendous amount that we don't know about what led up to the insurrection, why we were so unprepared for it [and] what we need to do to protect ourselves going forward," he added. "And that's really our central mission."
Among the unknowns are the details about what Trump was doing on Jan. 6, and what he told McCarthy during a phone call — reported to be tense — in the middle of the attack.
Thompson said it's too early to say if he'll call Trump, McCarthy or any other lawmakers with insights into Jan. 6 before the select committee. But he left open that possibility.
"We have not set all the parameters of the committee at this point," Thompson said.
Cheney also declined to weigh in on the prospect of calling Trump or McCarthy to testify.
"The committee will decide the parameters of the investigation" she said. "What I know is that it will be thorough, it will be professional, it will be serious.
"This is something where we all have to come together to defend democracy."