The latest on the House Capitol riot committee

By Maureen Chowdhury, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 1:27 p.m. ET, July 26, 2021
17 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
6:29 p.m. ET, July 21, 2021

What's next for the Jan. 6 committee?

From CNN's Annie Grayer, Jeremy Herb, Ryan Nobles, Daniella Diaz and Melanie Zanona

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today rejected two of the five Republicans House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had tapped for the House select committee created last month to investigate the circumstances surrounding the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol.

Based on how the panel was created, Pelosi is able to appoint eight members to the committee and McCarthy has five slots "in consultation" with Pelosi — meaning the speaker had the option to veto his selections.

Pelosi said in a statement Wednesday she was vetoing the appointment of two of the five Republicans appointed by McCarthy: Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jim Banks of Indiana.

Both are allies of Trump and had objected to the certification of the November 2020 election in the House on Jan. 6. McCarthy had selected Banks, the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, to be the top Republican on the panel.

"With respect for the integrity of the investigation, with an insistence on the truth and with concern about statements made and actions taken by these Members, I must reject the recommendations of Representatives Banks and Jordan to the Select Committee," Pelosi said in a statement. "The unprecedented nature of January 6th demands this unprecedented decision."

The committee will still have Republican representation from one member: Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, an outspoken critic of former President Trump who was one of Pelosi's eight choices to serve on the committee. Cheney's participation keeps the committee bipartisan even without anyone appointed by McCarthy.

But the lack of Republicans appointed by McCarthy on the panel means there will no longer be Trump allies when the committee holds high-profile hearings on the Jan. 6 attack.

Still, Pelosi's move gives House Republicans an avenue to attack the select committee as a partisan endeavor. McCarthy slammed the move shortly after it was announced Wednesday, and said that unless the House Speaker "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."

Democrats on the select committee defended Pelosi's decision, saying McCarthy could still appoint members who would take the investigation seriously. 

Next week's hearing: The select committee is slated to have its first hearing on Tuesday. Committee members will hear from Capitol Police officers Harry Dunn and Aquilino Gonell as well as Metropolitan Police Department officers Michael Fanone and Daniel Hodges about their experiences on Jan. 6.

Spokesperson Drew Hammill told CNN that next week's hearing with the four officers on the frontlines of Jan. 6 is not being delayed.

Read more about where things stand with the Jan. 6 committee here.

5:27 p.m. ET, July 21, 2021

Republican congressman calls for Capitol riot commission that does not include politicians

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

GOP Rep. James Comer of Kentucky said Congress should set up a non-political investigation into the Capitol riot of Jan. 6 which excludes elected officials.

Calling the attack a "massive security failure that should never happen again," Comer said he was unsurprised by the the partisan bickering over who serves on the Democratic-lead select committee.

"The best thing to do, in my opinion, is to have an independent commission that we know who's going to be on it," he said, speaking on CNN. "It doesn't need to be political."

It should include "not politicians," said Comer. "Outside people... because any time you have political people, I don't care if they're Democrats or Republicans, it's going to turn into a political event. It's going to turn into a political entity."

Comer also objected to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's decision to deny membership on the select committee to two outspoken Republicans, saying the GOP ought to have the right to choose their own members. He added that some Republicans view Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, who is on the commission, with the same disdain Democrats hold for GOP Rep. Jim Jordan, who Pelosi rejected.

"Democrats traditionally pick their members, the Republicans traditionally pick their members. Obviously it's going to be political when you do that," he said referring to Pelosi's decision.

4:42 p.m. ET, July 21, 2021

Democratic congressman leaves open the possibility of McCarthy and Trump being called before Jan. 6 committee

From CNN's Ryan Nobles

Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Democrat from Maryland, and a member of the Select Committee to investigate Jan. 6 said today that Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s decision to pull the members he selected from the committee after Pelosi rejected two of them, will not prevent the committee from doing their work. 

Raskin said he and his fellow members are still focused on seeking the truth — and left open the possibility that both former President Trump and/or McCarthy could be called before the panel to testify.

 “Well, the investigation is following the events of January 6 and the causes of January 6 and all relevant evidence and all relevant witnesses should be part of the investigation,” Raskin said.

When pressed if that could include Trump and McCarthy, he said it will depend on where the investigation leads. 

“I don't want to prejudge anything about where it's going. If people were not involved in the attack or the insurrection or the plot to overthrow the electoral count process then they don't have anything to worry about, but I mean, I would hope that any elected official who knows anything about what took place would step forward to tell us,” he said.

4:37 p.m. ET, July 21, 2021

Biden "strongly supports" steps to investigate Jan. 6, White House says

From CNN's DJ Judd

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki responded to Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s decision to pull Republican members from the House Select Committee investigating Jan. 6, telling reporters on board Air Force One Wednesday, the President “strongly supports” an investigation into the events of the Capitol riot.

“First, we stated at the time our disappointment that there wasn't bipartisan support for a select committee when there was an opportunity to vote for that,” Psaki said, “And we also have long stated our support for Speaker Pelosi and getting to the bottom of what happened on January 6, a dark day in our democracy, and we support her efforts for moving forward on that initiative.”

Shortly before the President departed for Ohio, White House spokesperson Michael Gwin told CNN’s Phil Mattingly, “The President has made clear that the shameful events of January 6th deserve a full, independent, and transparent investigation to ensure something like that never happens again, and he has full confidence in the Speaker’s ability to lead that work.”

Some more context: Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy decided to pull all five of his selections from the Jan. 6 select committee shortly after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she would reject two of his selected members—Congressmen Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jim Banks of Indiana.

McCarthy said that Republicans “will run our own investigation” into what happened on Jan. 6. The select committee will still have Republican representation from one member, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who was appointed by Pelosi.

Psaki dismissed the suggestion that detractors may dismiss any findings of the select committee as partisan, telling reporters in the Wednesday briefing, “I think many Americans across the country, regardless of their political affiliation, look at the events of January 6th as a dark day in our democracy.”

“The President strongly supports taking steps to get to the bottom of what happened so that we can prevent it from happening in the future,” Psaki added.

4:47 p.m. ET, July 21, 2021

Rep. Liz Cheney, the lone Republican on the Jan. 6 committee so far, says she agrees with Pelosi's decision 

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury and Manu Raju

GOP Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who was appointed to the Jan. 6 select committee by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said the rhetoric around the investigation by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and by those GOP members who Pelosi rejected to put on the committee has been "disgraceful."

"The American people deserve to know what happened. The people who did this must be held accountable," Cheney, an outspoken critic of former President Trump, told reporters outside of the US Capitol.

"There must be an investigation that is nonpartisan, that is sober, that is serious, that gets to the facts wherever they may lead, and at at every opportunity, the minority leader has attempted to prevent the American people from understanding what happened. To block this investigation," Cheney said.

Cheney said she agreed with Pelosi's decision to reject two GOP members appointed to the committee by McCarthy, Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jim Banks of Indiana, "I agree with what the Speaker has done."

"Today, the speaker objected to two Republican members. She accepted three others. She objected to two. One of whom may well be a material witness to events that led to that day, that led to Jan. 6. The other, who disqualified himself by his comments, in particular, over the last 24 hours. Demonstrating that he is not taking this seriously. He is not dealing with the facts of this investigation, but rather viewed it as a political platform. This investigation must go forward," she said.

"The idea that anybody would be playing politics with an attack on the United States Capitol is despicable and is disgraceful," Cheney continued.

Asked if McCarthy deserves to be Speaker of the House, Cheney told CNN's Manu Raju:

"I think that any person who would be third in line to the presidency must demonstrate a commitment to the Constitution and a commitment to the rule of law — and Minority Leader McCarthy has not done that."

Cheney's continued participation keeps the committee bipartisan even without anyone appointed by McCarthy. McCarthy slammed Pelosi's decision today and pulled the GOP members he selected from the committee, saying unless the House Speaker "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."

Watch Cheney's remarks to reporters:

CNN's Annie Grayer, Jeremy Herb, Ryan Nobles and Daniella Diaz contributed reporting to this post. 

3:59 p.m. ET, July 21, 2021

Harris says she respects Pelosi's ability to lead after her decision on the Jan. 6 select committee

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty Images
Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty Images

Asked by reporters for her reaction to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to reject Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jim Banks of Indiana from serving on the select committee that's investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection, Vice President Kamala Harris said “I absolutely respect Speaker Pelosi and her ability to lead, and support that.”

“...And there is no question in my mind, and I think most people’s mind, that the American people deserve to have a thorough, a full, fair and transparent process of getting down to what happened on Jan. 6. How it occurred, who was responsible, so that we can make sure that history does not repeat itself. That is in the best interest of all Americans,” Harris continued during a meeting with poll workers and election officials at the White House on Wednesday.

Harris also told those in attendance at the meeting that they are upholding some of the most important tenants of our democracy and asked them to share some of the challenges they have faced carrying out elections, specifically threats they faced surrounding the 2020 election.

3:31 p.m. ET, July 21, 2021

Jordan pins lack of security on Jan. 6 on Pelosi

From CNN's Ryan Nobles and Annie Grayer

J. Scott Applewhite/AP
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Rep. Jim Jordan, who House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blocked from serving on the Jan. 6 select committee, pinned the lack of security presence at the Capitol during the riot on Pelosi. 

Reiterating the line of questioning he would pursue if on the committee, Jordan asked, “why wasn’t there a proper security presence at the Capitol that day” adding, “only one person can answer that question. Only one. The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.”

Remember: While Pelosi was House Speaker on Jan. 6, the President was still Donald Trump, the Senate was in GOP control, and Mitch McConnell was still Majority Leader. Pelosi had no control over the mobilization of the National Guard, and protesters were at the Capitol trying to stop members of Congress from certifying the 2020 election.

Jordan told reporters that his “hunch” for why Democrats don’t want to address that question is because “the Democrats normalized anarchy.” Jordan then pinned the protests and violence of last summer on Democrats. 

Rep. Jim Banks, the other Republican Pelosi rejected from serving on the select committee, said her move is “entirely a political exercise on her part.” 

“It’s not an exercise in finding the facts and that’s what’s unfortunate” Banks added.

“The question that all of us should be asking: what is the Speaker afraid of?”

Rep. Kelly Armstrong, one of McCarthy’s picks that Pelosi did not reject from the committee said, “we have credibility with the American people,” and argued that Pelosi’s decision shows that she holds an “iron grip” on the House.

3:32 p.m. ET, July 21, 2021

McCarthy says he opposed the bipartisan Jan. 6 commission, Democrats' first choice, because of scope

From CNN's Ryan Nobles and Annie Grayer

J. Scott Applewhite/AP
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Asked by CNN why he opposed the failed bipartisan Capitol riot independent commission if he really wants to get to the bottom of what happened on Jan. 6, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said it’s because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the time played politics with the scope of that now moot commission.  

“That’s why people objected,” McCarthy said, referring to Democrats’ objections to including the attack on Good Friday that led to the death of fallen Officer William “Billy” Evans, among other reasons.

McCarthy also argued that Pelosi played politics and took too long to get the committee together, stating that Rep. Rodney Davis, who McCarthy had appointed to serve on the committee, requested an investigation as early as Jan. 13.

From the perspective of Democrats and Pelosi however, the Republicans were the ones who were trying to delay the bipartisan commission from being formed and getting underway.

Separately, House Intelligence Chair and Select Committee member Adam Schiff told reporters that Pelosi made the right decision to reject Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jim Banks from the select committee.

"The two of them were clearly selected just to be disruptive, and that's not acceptable," Schiff said.

3:57 p.m. ET, July 21, 2021

McCarthy: "The only way to reverse this" is for Pelosi to seat my 5 picks

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Getty Images
Getty Images

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the only way to reverse his decision to pull his 5 GOP members from the Jan. 6 committee is for Speaker Nancy Pelosi to include all of his picks into the committee.

"The only way to reverse this is seat these five. That's the only way," he said.

McCarthy pledged the GOP's own probe "will answer all the questions" surrounding the Jan. 6 riot.

When asked how this move helps officers and the families affected by the Capitol riot, McCarthy said it is "politics by Pelosi." 

"What helps them is we will go forward just as I promised them, and we'll get the answer to those questions. We'll make sure they're protected," he said.