House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, holds her weekly press conference in the Capitol on Thursday, July 22, 2021.
Bill Clark | CQ Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images
There is “no way” that two Republican MPs would serve on the House special committee to investigate the Capitol invasion, House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi said Thursday when she explained why she refused to appoint them.
These two House Republicans, Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jim Banks of Indiana, “made statements and took actions that just made it ridiculous to put them on such a truth-seekers committee,” said Pelosi, D-Calif. , at a press conference.
“If statements are ridiculous and fall within the scope of ‘you’re kidding’, there is no way they will be included on the committee,” Pelosi said.
Their decision to reject Jordan and Banks stemmed from their words and actions, which spanned months, some before the January 6 uprising itself and others this week, a senior Democratic adviser familiar with the deliberations told CNBC .
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Most recently, the adviser said, Democrats were outraged by a statement by Banks on Monday evening vowing to reveal the facts about the Capitol invasion, including “responses from the Capitol leadership and the Biden government.”
In fact, the Biden administration began two weeks after the January 6 uprising when hundreds of supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol to prevent Congress from confirming current President Joe Biden’s election victory.
When Congress returned to its chambers hours after the rioters disbanded, both Jordan and Banks voted to object to the election result.
Pelosi said Thursday that Banks’ statement was similar to claiming the Biden government was responsible for the attempted insurrection. “There was no Biden administration on January 6,” she said.
The Democratic adviser also told CNBC that there was “deep concern” about Jordan, a staunch Trump ally who is the senior Republican on the House Justice Committee.
The adviser specifically cited his attendance at a December meeting at the White House where Trump and a group of Republican lawmakers reportedly developed strategies to overturn Biden’s election victory.
Pelosi’s outright denials, announced Wednesday, sparked a fiery response from House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, who selected Jordan and Banks to join the committee along with three other Republicans.
McCarthy, R-Calif., Accused Pelosi of “outrageous abuse of power” and vowed to pull all five of his picks off the panel unless it reversed course.
The spokesman was “more interested in playing politics than looking for the truth,” said McCarthy.
But Pelosi on Thursday seemed highly unlikely to change her mind.
Banks and Jordan’s words and actions make it “impossible for them to pass judgment on the investigative committee,” she said.
The Democratic adviser told CNBC that members of the caucus had also objected to Banks’ appointment given a recent trip to the United States-Mexico organized by the Republican Studies Committee, which he chairs.
The group of GOP lawmakers on the trip was reportedly joined by Anthony Agüero, an alleged Capitol rioter who was seen chatting with several committee members.
Banks “never spoke to the person in question, the Republican Study Committee was unaware of his identity or whereabouts on Jan. 6, and he did not travel to the border with our group,” a committee spokesman told CNN in a statement.
After their nominations were rejected, Jordan and Banks issued statements accusing the select committee of being a partisan endeavor.
But one Republican member is on the podium: Wyoming Trump critic Liz Cheney, who was ousted from her role as GOP conference chair after refusing to criticize the former president for spreading the lie that the 2020 elections are in were manipulated against him.
“I think the committee will do a very thorough and fair and impartial work to learn the truth,” Cheney told reporters Thursday when she and other members met in Pelosi’s office for a closed-door meeting.