The fallout from Wednesday’s fireworks regarding the House committee in charge of investigating the Capitol riot carried over into Thursday, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy both making statements. The video above shows portions of both their statements.
Pelosi defended her decision to reject two of McCarthy’s picks for the committee, Representatives Jim Banks and Jim Jordan. “They had made statements and taken actions that I think would impact the integrity of the commission of the committee, the work of the committee,” Pelosi said. “These people are going to act up, cause a problem, and people said to me, ‘put them on and then when they act up, you can take them off’. I said, ‘why should we waste time on something as predictable?”
The two men are outspoken allies of former President Donald Trump, whose supporters laid siege to the Capitol that day. In the hours after the insurrection, they both voted to overturn Joe Biden’s presidential victory.
Later Thursday morning, McCarthy responded, calling the committee a “sham”, and “politically driven”. “For her to pick and choose who can serve on, to say that the ranking member of judiciary who would have jurisdiction cannot serve,” McCarthy said. “When she decides that Jim Banks, who served his nation in the Navy in Afghanistan, that he can’t serve here.”
McCarthy said the unprecedented nature of Pelosi’s action “puts a great deal of doubt in” the legitimacy of the committee. Pelosi said “while this may be unprecedented, so was an attack on the Capitol.”
It is unclear, for now, whether Pelosi will try and appoint other members to the panel. She said she has the authority to do so under committee rules.
Also unclear, how McCarthy would lead a separate investigation, like he said he would do in a statement. As the minority leader, he does not have the power to set up committees.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House: “I, we named our commission and it was… committee and it’s bipartisan again, and we have a quorum. Staff is being hired to do the job. We’re there to seek the truth. We’re not… we’re there to get the truth, not to get Trumped, T-R-U, truth. Trump, that seems to be what the other side is obsessed with, so as the legislation allows, I do not accept two of the five people who were appointed. They had made statements and taken actions that I think would impact the integrity of the commission of the committee, the work of the committee. This is deadly serious, this is about our Constitution, it’s about our country. But their assault on the Capitol, that is being mischaracterized, for some reason, at the expense, at the expense of finding the truth for the American people. I’m very pleased the response that we have received across the country and from my caucus on this subject, and we will I’m very pleased with the leadership of Bennie Thompson, our chairman, the bipartisan nature of our committee with Liz Cheney, the other members on the committee who have experience and patriotism as their calling cards. So we will proceed, and as I said, they’re in the process of, the committee’s in the process of hiring staff to that end. 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. These people are going to act up, cause a problem, and people said to me, put them on and then when they act up, you can take them off. I said, why should we waste time on something as predictable? The Republicans that they put on will have their own point of view. Nobody’s saying that, that it all should be one point of view going on the committee, but it is when statements are ridiculous and fall into the realm of ‘you must be kidding.’ There’s no way that they’re going to be on the committee. OK.”
Rep. Kevin McCathy, Minority Leader: “Sham committee that’s just politically driven by Speaker Pelosi. When we proposed to do a commission back in January, she said no, she just wanted to make it political. When we responded back to her, she waited 10 weeks to say anything else. I don’t think anybody in America, I think even your viewers understand what a sham this committee is and how politically driven. For her to pick and choose who can serve on, to say that the ranking member of judiciary who would have jurisdiction cannot serve. When she decides that Jim Banks, who served his nation in the Navy in Afghanistan, that he can’t serve here. So I thought from what the Speaker has done, that puts a great deal of doubt in it. I mean, at no time in the history of a select committee in America and I checked with the historian, has what Speaker Pelosi done ever happened before. The idea that she’s going to pick and choose, you’re not going to get an outcome. I mean, she’s picking and choosing and she put a chairman on that objected to the election of George Bush. She put a chairman on this committee that just had to now pull back on his lawsuit against President Trump. Doesn’t matter today what she does with that committee, because it’s not going to change the outcome of what it seems like, a pre-determined, or already written report. And at the same time that she played politics with this for six months, the Senate acted. The FBI has investigated. And the architect of the Capitol has 10 million dollars. What it really comes down to is there are two questions: why were we so ill prepared? If you read the Senate report, you’ll know that they knew by December 14th. Why were we so ill prepared? Second is, you’ve got to make sure it never happens or has the ability to happen again.”