House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Monday introduced legislation that would create a select committee to probe the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, with an aide suggesting the speaker may include a Republican among her appointees.
“The speaker is seriously considering including a Republican among her eight appointments to the Select Committee,” a Pelosi aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity because that person was not authorized to publicly discuss the matter, said in an email.
Pelosi’s move to form a select 13-member committee comes one month after Senate Republicans blocked an effort to create an independent, bipartisan commission.
The panel will investigate the facts and causes of the assault that left five dead and nearly 140 officers attacked as they faced rioters armed with ax handles, bats, metal batons, wooden poles, hockey sticks and other weapons, authorities said. The riot led to the impeachment of President Donald Trump on a charge of “incitement of insurrection.”
In a statement Monday, Pelosi said that Democrats “are determined to find the truth.”
“Sadly, as of last week, there remains no prospect for additional votes from Republican Senators to create the National Commission to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol Complex. . . . January 6th was one of the darkest days in our nation’s history. It is imperative that we establish the truth of that day and ensure such an attack cannot again happen,” Pelosi said.
The select committee’s probe will provide recommendations to help prevent similar attacks in the future, Pelosi announced at a news conference last week.
According to the legislation, Pelosi would have the power to appoint eight members to the panel, while five members would be selected “after consultation with” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
McCarthy last week declined to say whether he plans to appoint members to the committee — and notably did not commit to refrain from choosing lawmakers who have made comments minimizing the events of Jan. 6.
The chair of the panel would have subpoena power, meaning that Democrats could seek to compel the testimony of aides and lawmakers — potentially including McCarthy — who were in contact with Trump in the days leading up to and during the insurrection.
McCarthy’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.
The suggestion that Pelosi might include a Republican among her appointees immediately stirred speculation about whom she might choose. Some GOP lawmakers, including Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), have been vocal in criticizing Trump over his actions surrounding the attack. Cheney was ousted from House Republican leadership last month because she continues to challenge Trump over his false claim that the presidential election was stolen.
Cheney and Kinzinger were among the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump.
Ten Republicans vote to impeach Trump, giving the vote bipartisan bona fides that could win over Senate GOP
Senate Republicans last month blocked the creation of an independent Jan. 6 commission, despite 35 House Republicans having endorsed the effort. That commission would have been modeled after a panel formed in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and charged with producing an objective account of what fueled the day’s violence.
About 10,000 people gathered at the Capitol on Jan. 6, and nearly 800 of them broke into the Capitol building.
In recent weeks, several House and Senate panels have been looking into the events of Jan. 6, holding public hearings with law enforcement and military officials and, in one case, publishing a report examining why authorities were unable to control the pro-Trump crowd.
The select committee — which will require a majority vote in the Democratic-led House to be formed — is a signal that Pelosi wants to centralize those investigations in one body that will be equipped with subpoena power and tasked with publishing its findings.
Republican lawmakers who voted against the creation of an independent commission openly worried that its product might negatively affect the GOP in the 2022 midterm election cycle. But the commission would have had a deadline of the end of this year to produce a report, and it is far from certain that a select committee would have to function on as tight a timeline.
During Monday night’s meeting of the House Rules Committee, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), the panel’s chairman, said lawmakers “owe it to the American people” to investigate the Jan. 6 attack.
“We will not be intimidated by the former occupant of the White House and his temper tantrums,” McGovern said. “I applaud the Republicans who have stood up to him despite all of the political risk. But make no mistake: We will get to the bottom of what happened.”
Karoun Demirjian contributed to this report.