McCarthy won’t rule out booting Cheney from Armed Services
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Thursday did not rule out booting Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from the powerful Armed Services Committee amid a partisan brawl over who should serve on the special committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tapped Cheney, who has blamed Trump for inciting the Capitol insurrection, as her sole GOP pick for the special panel. But this week, McCarthy came under intense pressure by his rank-and-file members to strip Cheney of her Armed Services assignment after the Speaker rejected two of his five picks for the panel: Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Jim Banks (R-Ind.), both Trump loyalists.
McCarthy protested by yanking all five of his GOP picks off the committee, vowing that Republicans would carry out their own probe of political violence in the country.
But Cheney has refused to step down from the panel, insisting that the investigation into the causes of the deadly assault and the reason the complex was not better fortified must go on. Cheney’s participation has given Democrats a useful talking point that the probe is bipartisan.
Pelosi is also reportedly considering appointing a second Trump critic, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), to the Jan. 6 select committee, another move that would infuriate Republicans. Kinzinger serves on both the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee.
Asked by reporters about whether he would recommend ousting Cheney and Kinzinger from their committees, McCarthy replied that Republicans’ “main focus” is on combating rising inflation, securing the border and addressing the spike in violent crime in U.S. cities.
But he said of taking retribution against Cheney and Kinzinger: “I think it’s a conference decision. The conference will look at it.”
Earlier this year, House Republicans unanimously voted to remove Cheney as GOP Conference chair, the No. 3 spot in leadership, for continuing to lay blame for Jan. 6 at the feet of Trump. To oust her from Armed Services, the McCarthy-aligned Steering Committee would need to vote to recommend her removal; then the full GOP Conference would vote to ratify the decision.
On Thursday afternoon, Pelosi and her eight picks for the Jan. 6 panel, Cheney and seven Democrats, were huddling in her office as they prepared for their first public hearing Tuesday featuring testimony from police officers who defended the Capitol during the deadly attack.
Speaking to reporters Thursday, Pelosi said she would not allow GOP “antics” to impede the investigation, a nod to Republicans boycotting the special committee.
“It’s my responsibility as Speaker of the House to make sure we get to the truth on this, and we will not let their antics stand in the way of that,” Pelosi said.
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