US House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has dropped all his Republican picks in the select committee probing the January 6 Capitol riot in the wake of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s rejection of two of his nominees.
“Unless Speaker Pelosi reverses course and seats all five Republican nominees, Republicans will not be party to their sham process and will instead pursue our own investigation of the facts,” McCarthy said in a statement issued on Wednesday.
“No, you have our statement,” Pelosi’s spokesman Drew Hammill quickly shot down the possibility that the Speaker might withdraw her decision, reports Xinhua news agency.
Earlier on Wednesday, Pelosi said she rejected to seat Republican House lawmakers Jim Jordan and Jim Banks on the select committee though they were among McCarthy’s recommended choices, claiming that their behaviours over the riot threatened “the integrity of the investigation”.
“Denying the voices of members who have served in the military and law enforcement, as well as leaders of standing committees, has made it undeniable that this panel has lost all legitimacy and credibility and shows the Speaker is more interested in playing politics than seeking the truth,” McCarthy responded in his statement.
Without McCarthy’s nominees, the select committee, which was originally designed to seat 13 lawmakers, would instead feature only the eight members appointed by Pelosi earlier this month.
Among them, Liz Cheney, an open critic of former President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him, would be the only Republican lawmaker on the one-sided panel.
The Democratic-controlled House voted on June 30 mostly along party lines to create a select committee to probe the attack on Capitol after legislation to create an independent bipartisan commission was blocked by Senate Republicans.
The panel is tasked with investigating and reporting on the basis of “the facts, circumstances and causes” relating to the attack on the Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters, including law enforcement agencies’ preparation and the “influencing factors that fomented” the attack aimed at stopping Congress’s certification of the 2020 election results.
The panel’s first hearing, scheduled for July 27, will feature testimony from four police officers who were injured during the Capitol attack.
Paul Hodgkins, a 38-year-old man from Florida, was sentenced on Monday to eight months in jail for breaching Congress, becoming the first rioter charged with a felony to be sentenced, according to a CNN report.
Nearly 550 rioters have been charged with crimes related to the Capitol attack, said the report, noting that at least 230 of them have been charged with the same obstruction crime to which Hodgkins pleaded guilty.
Five people, including a Capitol police officer, died in the riot when hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s presidential election victory.