Republican U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an ardent foe of former President Donald Trump and his GOP allies in Congress, was being considered by Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as a late addition to a select committee examining the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, the panel’s chair said Thursday.
A day earlier, House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy pulled all five of his Republican members from what was supposed to be a 13-member panel after Pelosi vetoed two of them. She contended Republican Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jim Banks of Indiana could not render independent judgment because of their past statements and support for Trump.
Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis of Taylorville was one of three other members McCarthy tapped to serve on the select committee. Davis, who is considering a run for governor, has sought to carefully navigate his way among Republican Trump supporters. But he labeled Pelosi’s panel a “sham” in a fundraising email after she vetoed the two GOP members and McCarthy yanked the rest of the picks.
Pelosi has already selected one Republican member to the committee, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, and may be looking to add to a veneer of bipartisanship by adding more GOP members.
Cheney and Kinzinger were the only two House Republicans to support the Pelosi panel after Senate Republicans rejected a House-passed effort to create a bipartisan independent commission to look into the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6 and Trump’s role in inspiring the attack.
Cheney and Kinzinger were also among 10 House Republicans who supported Trump’s impeachment. Cheney was stripped of her role in House Republican leadership as a result.
On Thursday, Rep. Bennie Thompson, the Massachusetts Democrat chairing the select committee, told CNN that adding Kinzinger to the panel has been discussed with Pelosi.
“I know it’s been discussed,” Thompson said, adding that if Kinzinger were selected it will be a “welcome addition.”
Kinzinger’s office did not have any immediate comment.
But earlier this month, he replied, “Who gives a s---?” when asked by reporters about McCarthy’s threat to strip committee assignments from any GOP member who joined the panel.
Of McCarthy, Kinzinger added: “When you’ve got people that say crazy stuff and you’re not gonna make that threat (to them, but) to make the threat (to) the truth tellers, you’ve lost, you know, any credibility.”
Pelosi on Thursday made clear that regardless of McCarthy’s actions, the select committee would move forward with its investigation.
“This is deadly serious. This is about our Constitution, it’s about our country. It’s about assault on the capital that is being mischaracterized. For some reason, at the expense of finding the truth for the American people,” Pelosi said.
Like Kinzinger, Davis, a five-term central Illinois congressman who is the ranking Republican on the House Administration Committee, had backed the independent commission to look into the Jan. 6 insurrection that was blocked by Senate Republicans.
But Davis derided Pelosi’s panel after McCarthy pulled him and the other GOP members. Davis likened himself to Jordan as “strong conservatives” who were “standing up to Nancy Pelosi and her sham investigation into Jan. 6” in a fundraising email.
“They were so scared that I was going to expose them for the lies they have been feeding the American people, they refused to seat our GOP members,” Davis said of Democrats. “It’s clear that this is just a partisan ploy to attack President Trump.”
Abby Witt, executive director of the state Democratic Party, contended Davis was not interested in finding the truth about Jan. 6 and was “only focused on proving his credentials as an extreme GOP Trump loyalist.”
The strike force — a mix of federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and other law enforcement agencies — will be tasked with identifying and disrupting pipelines that are responsible for bringing illegal guns onto city streets.