Cheney reveals GOP’s Banks claimed he was Jan. 6 panel’s ranking member
Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ill.) sent numerous letters claiming to be the ranking member of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, the committee’s Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) revealed Thursday.
Cheney entered copies of the letters into the legislative record during debate over whether the House should refer former Trump White House strategist Stephen Bannon to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution.
“He noted that the Speaker had determined that he wouldn’t be on the committee, so I would like to introduce for the record number of letters the gentleman from Indiana has been sending to federal agencies, dated September 16 2021, for example, signing his name as the ranking member of the committee he’s just informed the House that he’s not on, and that he in fact is not on,” she said.
The exhibits were entered into the record shortly after Banks encouraged fellow Republicans to vote against the measure, complaining that he was one of two GOP members blocked from joining the committee by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
In the letter, Banks writes that Pelosi “refused to allow me to fulfill my duties as ranking member.”
“Pursuant to the rules of the House of Representatives, the minority party retains rights to the same information that is provided to the majority party. For these reasons I ask that you provide me any information that is submitted to the select committee,” Banks wrote in a note to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.
Banks was one of five Republicans selected by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to serve on the panel. Pelosi rejected Banks and another McCarthy selection, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). Both had opposed certifying the results of the presidential election.
In response, McCarthy pulled all five of his GOP selections. Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) were selected by Pelosi to serve on the panel, and Cheney is its vice chairwoman.
Bank’s office pushed back against Cheney on Friday, arguing the congressman did not misrepresent his role.
“Liz Cheney isn’t the ranking member. She is the vice-chair because she was appointed by Democrats. This is the first Select Committee in American history that doesn’t have a ranking member and is entirely partisan. Rep. Banks chose to highlight the unprecedented exclusion of the minority party in his letter,” a spokesman for Banks said in a statement.
Updated Friday at 9:42 a.m.