House Speaker Nancy Pelosi added Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger as the second Republican on the January 6 committee after House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy pulled all of his choices from the panel, The New York Times reports.
Pelosi, who already appointed vocal Republican Trump critic Liz Cheney to the committee investigating the Capitol riot, on Sunday appointed Kinzinger to the panel after McCarthy said his party would not participate because Pelosi blocked two of his five picks.
“He brings great patriotism to the Committee’s mission: to find the facts and protect our Democracy,” Pelosi said of the six-term congressman, noting that he served in the Air Force and the Air National Guard.
Kinzinger in a statement criticized members of his party for stoking “lies and conspiracy theories.”
“I’m a Republican dedicated to conservative values, but I swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution—and while this is not the position I expected to be in or sought out, when duty calls, I will always answer,” he said.
“This moment requires a serious, clear-eyed, non-partisan approach. We are duty-bound to conduct a full investigation on the worst attack on the Capitol since 1814 and to make sure it can never happen again.”
Republicans push to punish:
A growing group of House Republicans want McCarthy to punish Cheney and Kinzinger for accepting Pelosi’s invitation to serve on the panel, according to CNN.
Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus have been especially vocal.
"There's a lot," a House Republican told CNN. "Supporting Pelosi's unprecedented move to reject McCarthy's picks was a bridge too far."
Some members have publicly called for the party to kick the two off of committees.
Both Kinzinger and Cheney, who voted to impeach Trump, have been censured by their state parties.
But Democrats’ control of the House could throw a wrench into the GOP plans. Even if Republicans decided to remove them from their committees, Pelosi could simply reappoint them.
"Plenty of people wondering the same things," a House Republican told the network. "If they are accepting appointments from Nancy Pelosi rather than the GOP, haven't they already effectively left? Perhaps they should ask Speaker Pelosi for committee assignments?"
Committee hearings kick off:
The roster for the committee has not been finalized but the panel is set to hold its first hearing on Tuesday featuring two Capitol police officers and two DC police officers involved in the riot response.
Committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin said the officers will provide the “moral center of gravity of the whole investigation.”
Fellow committee member Rep. Adam Schiff said their testimony was “a really important perspective to begin with . . . to put to rest this fictional revisionist history.”
Raskin said the committee will focus on “why we were not prepared for the president to unleash the violence against us and what that means in terms of security” and “what groups and political forces came together to do this, how did they operate and why did they do this, what was the purpose of it.”