WASHINGTON - Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, on Sunday named a second Republican, Congressman Adam Kinzinger, to the select committee to investigate the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by hundreds of supporters of then-President Donald Trump.
Kinzinger, an Illinois lawmaker, joins Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney, both of them vocal critics of Trump, on the panel, which is set to start hearing testimony on Tuesday. The panel is investigating the chaos that occurred as lawmakers were certifying Democrat Joe Biden's victory over Trump in last November's election to become the country's 46th president.
Pelosi named Cheney to the panel weeks ago, while Kinzinger's selection comes after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy last week pulled all five of his Republican appointments to the committee when Pelosi rejected two of them as biased against an independent review of how and why the riot occurred.
"Speaker Pelosi's rejection of the Republican nominees to serve on the committee and self-appointment of members who share her pre-conceived narrative will not yield a serious investigation," McCarthy said in a statement Sunday.
FILE - Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi responds to a question about her creation of a select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, during a news conference, June 30, 2021.
About 800 people entered the restricted Capitol building, some rampaging past authorities, smashing windows and doors, and scuffling with police. More than 500 have been charged with an array of offenses, some as minor as trespassing, but others with assaulting police, 140 of whom were injured, and vandalizing the Capitol and congressional offices.
One Trump protester was shot dead by police, three other protesters died of medical emergencies and a police officer who helped defend the Capitol died the next day. Two other police officers committed suicide in the ensuing days.
Kinzinger's appointment leaves seven Democrats and two Republicans on the panel, unless either Pelosi or McCarthy names more.
In a statement, Pelosi said Kinzinger "brings great patriotism to the committee's mission: to find the facts and protect our democracy."
In response, Kinzinger said, "Let me be clear, 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."
Pelosi had rejected the appointment of two vocal critics of the investigation, Congressmen Jim Banks of Indiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio, because both had sought to overturn the presidential election results. Pelosi said she was willing to accept McCarthy's three other Republican nominees, Congressmen Rodney Davis of Illinois, Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota and Troy Nehls of Texas, but McCarthy withdrew their appointments.
Pelosi said on ABC's "This Week" show, "I do believe that the work of this committee, in order to retain the confidence of the American people, must act in a way that has no partisanship, is all about patriotism, and I'm very proud of the members of the committee and I'm very certain they will accomplish that goal. We have to again ignore the antics of those who do not want to find the truth."
Some Republicans have assailed the creation of the panel as a pre-ordained partisan Democratic exercise to find another way to attack Trump for his role in the mayhem at the Capitol. He had urged supporters to "fight like hell" to block certification of Biden's victory.
Even before Pelosi named Kinzinger, Banks told the "Fox News Sunday" show that the House speaker only wants people "who will stick to her talking points" on the investigative panel.
"That's why she's picked the group that she's already picked, and anyone that she asked to be on this committee from this point moving forward will be stuck to her narrative," Banks said.