Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) speaks after the Republican House caucus votes to appoint Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) from her leadership, at the US Capitol on May 12, 2021 in Washington, DC.
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has added Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger, an outspoken Trump critic, to the House selection committee charged 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 while this is not the position I expected to be given or seeking, I will always answer when duty calls,” Kinzinger said in a statement announcing that he accepted the appointment.
Last week, Pelosi rejected two of minority leader Kevin McCarthy’s picks for the select committee, prompting the Republican to pledge to withdraw all of his proposed nominations. Pelosi said she spoke to McCarthy “about the objections” to his decision to nominate Republican representatives Jim Banks of Indiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio.
The panel will examine the events surrounding the deadly January 6 attack on the United States Capitol by a mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump in an attempt to stop the certification of his election defeat.
Kinzinger, of Illinois, would join the only other Republican on the committee, Rep. Liz Cheney, of Wyoming, who was ousted as Speaker of the House Republican Conference after criticizing Trump and fellow Republicans for making false claims of fraud in the 2020 election.
The chair of the panel, Representative Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said Kinzinger is a welcome addition to the committee.
He has shown “that he can speak his mind despite what some of his Republican colleagues may want him not to speak,” Thompson said on MSNBC on Sunday. “An independent vote in the select committee is always welcome.”
Full Republican involvement in the committee has remained up for debate.
Illustrating Republicans’ reluctance to join the committee, Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., argued Sunday that Democrats use the committee for political messages.
“It is politically in the Democrats’ favor to try to keep this issue at the forefront,” Toomey told CNN. He added that Democrats are spending too much time on Trump rather than “the current president’s policies and the damage he’s going to do”.
Republicans have pointed to Pelosi’s rejection of members as further evidence. On Sunday, Banks told Fox News that he could have used a seat on the committee to shift 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 willing to nominate McCarthy’s other pick, Republican Rep. Rodney Davis, of Illinois; Kelly Armstrong, of North Dakota; and Troy Nehls, of Texas, and asked him to recommend two other members.
The resolution the commission established gave Pelosi the opportunity to veto McCarthy’s choices, which must be made in consultation with her. The committee can proceed without the five members selected by McCarthy. The committee’s first hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.