House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) has chosen five Republican members to serve on the select committee to investigate the attack on the Capitol on January 6 — and a majority of those chosen are people who voted to overturn the election on that day.
Under the rules of the committee set by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California), McCarthy is allowed to choose five Republicans for the 13-member committee. This is similar to Pelosi’s original proposal to form the commission, with Democrats making up a majority of the group. A subsequent bipartisan proposal for the commission, meanwhile, had a 50-50 split between the parties but was blocked by Republicans, despite several concessions from the Democrats.
McCarthy chose Republican Representatives Jim Banks (Indiana), Jim Jordan (Ohio), Rodney Davis (Illinois), Kelly Armstrong (North Dakota) and Troy Nehls (Texas) to serve on the committee. Of those picks, Banks, Jordan and Nehls were among the 147 Republican lawmakers who voted against certifying the electoral college results on the day that the deadly attack on the Capitol occured, encouraged by President Trump.
The picks, McCarthy said, represent a range of viewpoints from his caucus, including people who did and didn’t object to the electoral results. But those who had voted to overturn the election, even after enduring a horrific day full of close calls and existential fear, may not be the best representatives to navigate and probe the horrors of the day.
Indeed, Jordan has already downplayed the events of January 6. When asked about the GOP’s goals on the committee, he told CNN, “You know what this is about. This is about going after President [Donald] Trump. The Democrats don’t want to talk about anything else.”
Jordan, the most high-profile member of the group, is a staunch ally of Trump. He and Banks were part of a group of Republicans who signed onto a Texas lawsuit in December that aimed to block electors from crucial swing states, invalidating the votes of millions to give the election to Trump. That lawsuit, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, was shot down by the Supreme Court.
Jordan is also a questionable choice on the basis of the statements he has made about the January 6 attack alone. The Ohio lawmaker has spread misinformation online about Pelosi’s actions that day, saying that the speaker denied a Capitol Police request for calling in the National Guard for backup. Though this has been shown to be pure speculation, and likely untrue, Jordan still appears to be repeating this claim, saying on Tuesday that his major question for the commission is Pelosi’s role in blocking proper security.
Jordan’s statements, even in the short time that his selection on the committee has been public, have shown that he and fellow GOP members will likely be using their participation on the committee solely to attack Democrats.
Banks, similarly, attacked Democrats when CNN asked about his goals on the committee and the scope of the investigation. The committee exists “to malign conservatives and to justify the Left’s authoritarian agenda,” Banks told the publication. Republicans had attacked the original idea for the committee along similar lines, saying that it should also investigate anti-fascists, who notably did not attack the Capitol in order to overturn the election in January.
Pelosi has ultimate say on whether or not McCarthy’s picks are allowed to serve on the commission, which is likely why McCarthy also chose Armstrong and Davis to participate alongside the Trump-allied firebrands. Davis serves as the top GOP member of the House Administration Committee, which oversees goings-on at the Capitol, and had voted for the bipartisan January 6 committee proposal that Senate Republicans shot down.
The committee is set to have its first hearing next week. It will hear testimony from Capitol and D.C. police officers who responded to the attack.