Pelosi rejects Jordan, Banks for Jan. 6 committee
Both GOP lawmakers are staunch allies of former President Trump, and both had voted in January against certifying President Biden’s election victory.
In a statement, Pelosi said Democrats in her caucus had raised specific objections to Jordan and Banks “and the impact their appointments may have on the integrity of the investigation.”
“With respect for the integrity of the investigation, with an insistence on the truth and with concern about statements made and actions taken by these Members, I must reject the recommendations of Representatives Banks and Jordan to the Select Committee,” she said.
She did not specify what statements and actions she was referring to.
Jordan and Banks were part of a group of five GOP lawmakers nominated by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to serve on the 13-member select committee. But the language of the resolution gave Pelosi veto power over the Republican selections.
Pelosi said she will accept the other three GOP selections: Reps. Rodney Davis (Ill.), Kelly Armstrong (N.D.) and Troy Nehls (Texas). They would join the eight lawmakers she had previously appointed, including Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the panel’s chairman, and GOP Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), Congress’s most prominent Republican critic of Trump.
Pelosi said she spoke with McCarthy Wednesday morning to inform him of her decision, and she requested that he recommend two alternative Republicans to replace Jordan and Banks.
McCarthy has refused. Instead, he’s yanked all of his picks from the panel.
The rejections of Jordan and Banks underscore the lingering animosity surrounding the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, where a violent mob of Trump supporters attempted to block Congress from formalizing the results of the 2020 presidential contest.
Leading up to the attack, a majority of House Republicans had signed on to a lawsuit challenging Biden’s victory, essentially endorsing Trump’s false claims that the election was “stolen,” or tainted by rampant voter fraud. And after the siege, 139 Republicans voted to overturn the results in Arizona, Pennsylvania or both.
Pelosi on Tuesday had said that those votes would not be a factor as she weighed whether to seat McCarthy’s selections on the select committee. Indeed, Nehls, a former sheriff who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, also voted to overturn Biden’s victory in both Arizona and Pennsylvania. Nehls called the Jan. 6 riot “criminal” and “un-American.”
But Jordan, the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, and Banks, the head of the Republican Study Committee, have emerged as some of the most vocal Trump defenders in the wake of the insurrection, infuriating Democrats of all stripes who consider Trump’s allies to be complicit in the attack.
Both Jordan and Banks have said in recent days that they were hoping to use their positions on the select committee to investigate what Pelosi knew about the security threat ahead of the violence.
“The violent domestic attack on Congress on January 6th was the worst assault on the Capitol since the War of 1812 and the worst domestic assault on American Democracy since the Civil War. We are facing a radically new threat in the kinds of forces that combined to attack our government on January 6th. The future of our democracy is on the line. This assault was an attempt to overthrow the government.
“We need a comprehensive investigation as to who organized this attack, who paid for it, how they nearly succeeded in overthrowing a presidential election, why they did it and how we must organize ourselves to prevent anything like it from ever happening again.
“It had been our hope to establish a bipartisan, independent National Commission, but there is no prospect for that Commission at this time because of insufficient support from Republican Senators. Therefore, the House established the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol. The Select Committee on the January 6th Insurrection will investigate and report upon the facts and causes of the terrorist mob attack on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021. It will also be charged with reporting its findings, conclusions and recommendations for preventing future attacks.
“Monday evening, the Minority Leader recommended 5 Members to serve on the Select Committee. I have spoken with him this morning about the objections raised about Representatives Jim Banks and Jim Jordan and the impact their appointments may have on the integrity of the investigation. I also informed him that I was prepared to appoint Representatives Rodney Davis, Kelly Armstrong and Troy Nehls, and requested that he recommend two other Members.
“With respect for the integrity of the investigation, with an insistence on the truth and with concern about statements made and actions taken by these Members, I must reject the recommendations of Representatives Banks and Jordan to the Select Committee.
“The unprecedented nature of January 6th demands this unprecedented decision.”
Updated 5:30 p.m.