Pelosi taps Cheney for Jan. 6 select committee

The speaker also selected Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the widely respected constitutional lawyer who led the House Democrats’ impeachment probe into Trump earlier this year, who will serve alongside two managers of Trump’s first impeachment in Schiff and Lofgren. Also named to the select panel were Reps. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.) and Elaine Luria (D-Va.).

“We need to figure out who organized the violence on Jan. 6. How did they organize it, and why did they organize it?” Raskin said, outlining the aims of the investigation.

Pelosi had previously signaled that she was considering appointing a GOP member to the panel, an unexpected move for a Democratic leader that was welcomed by many in her caucus, who had worried that the panel could become overtly partisan.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is already urging his GOP conference to stay far away from the panel’s work. McCarthy has warned several members of his conference that he could strip their committee assignments if they choose to participate. Asked about McCarthy’s threat, Pelosi dismissed the question from reporters: “I’m not talking about him. Go ask him about what he says.”

Cheney did not attend the press conference but issued a statement on her appointment.

“What happened on January 6th can never happen again,” Cheney said. “Those who are responsible for the attack need to be held accountable and this select committee will fulfill that responsibility in a professional, expeditious, and non-partisan manner.”

The other Republican who voted Wednesday to create the select committee, Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, dismissed McCarthy’s attempt to scare off Republicans who might accept a Pelosi offer to serve on the panel.

“Who gives a shit?” Kinzinger replied Thursday morning, confirming the warning from the California Republican. After Cheney was given a seat by Pelosi, Kinzinger tweeted a cheer: “Fantastic news!”

“I do think the threat of removing committees is ironic, because you won’t go after the space lasers and white supremacist people but those who tell the truth,” Kinzinger added of McCarthy’s indication he would strip committee assignments from any members picked by Pelosi to serve on the panel.

McCarthy’s office did not immediately return a request for comment on whether Cheney would be stripped of her committees for accepting the appointment from Pelosi.

Kinzinger’s references to “space lasers” and “white supremacist people” are nods to Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), respectively. Greene lost her own committee assignments following a string of incendiary remarks, including a baseless conspiracy theory regarding wildfires and lasers, while Gosar spoke at a conference organized by a prominent white nationalist earlier this year.

McCarthy has yet to say whether he will make recommendations for GOP members to sit on the Democrat-led committee digging into the Capitol attack. But the California Republican’s closed-door warning delivered Wednesday to several of his conference members, which Kinzinger confirmed, suggest that he’s preparing to do what he can to undercut the Jan. 6 committee’s work.

The warning, in which McCarthy indicated that accepting a select committee seat from Pelosi could lose House Republicans their committee assignments, was first reported by Punchbowl News.