Pelosi appoints Republican Rep. Kinzinger to Jan. 6 committee

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Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) speaks after the Republican Group leader voted to remove Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) at the U.S. Capitol on May 12, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Kevin Dietsch | Getty Images

House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi has included Republican MP Adam Kinzinger, an outspoken Trump critic, on the House of Representatives special committee tasked with investigating the Jan. 6 attack, she said in a statement on Sunday.

“I have sworn an oath to uphold and defend the constitution – and although this is not the position I expected or aspired to, I will always respond when the service calls,” said Kinzinger in a statement in which he announced that he accepted the appointment.

Last week, Pelosi turned down two of minority leader Kevin McCarthy’s elections to the select committee, prompting the Republican to withdraw all of his proposed appointments. Pelosi said she spoke with McCarthy “about the objections raised” to his decision to appoint Republicans Jim Banks of Indiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio.

The panel will investigate the events surrounding the deadly January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a group of supporters of former President Donald Trump in an attempt to stop confirming his electoral defeat.

Illinois-based Kinzinger would join the only other Republican on the committee, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, who was ousted as chair of the House Republican Conference after criticizing Trump and other Republicans for continuing to make false claims about fraud in the House of Representatives 2020 election.

Panel chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., Said Kinzinger would be a welcome addition to the panel.

He has proven “that he can express his opinion regardless of what some of his Republican colleagues might expect from him,” Thompson said on Sunday on MSNBC. “An independent voice from the select committee is always welcome.”

Full Republican participation in the committee remained questionable.

Senator Pat Toomey, R-Pa., Illustrated Republicans’ reluctance to serve on the committee, arguing Sunday that the Democrats are using the commission for political messages.

“It is politically to the Democrats’ advantage to keep this issue a priority,” Toomey said on CNN. He added that Democrats are spending too much time focusing on Trump rather than “the current president’s policies and the damage he will do”.

Republicans have cited Pelosi’s rejection of membership as further evidence. Banks told Fox News on Sunday that he could have used a seat on the committee to put the blame for the attack on Pelosi.

But other Republicans have also expressed an interest in joining the committee, Pelosi said on Sunday. She added that she was ready to appoint McCarthy’s other picks, Illinois Republican Rodney Davis; Kelly Armstrong from North Dakota; and Troy Nehls from Texas and asked him to recommend two more members.

The resolution to create the committee gave Pelosi the opportunity to veto McCarthy’s selection, which must be made in consultation with her. The committee can proceed without the five members chosen by McCarthy. The committee’s first hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

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