Nancy Pelosi is about to take a hard line if Republicans attempt to derail her recently announced select committee in the Jan.6 attack on Capitol Hill and she can appoint members at her sole discretion, according to a source familiar with the matter. .
The committee, which passed the House in a vote close to the party line on Wednesday, will have eight Democratic-nominated and four Republican-nominated members, as well as broad subpoena power and no deadline to complete its work.
“We have a duty, towards the constitution and the country, to find the truth about the insurgency of January 6 and to ensure that such an assault on our democracy cannot happen again”, wrote the president of the House in a letter to colleagues.
But, deeply suspicious of the GOP, Pelosi is prepared to veto any Republican member and is considering not allowing any Republican who opposed Joe Biden’s certification of election victory to sit on the select committee, said source.
Barely veiled warning sent backstage to House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy reflects Pelosi’s determination to investigate the root causes of the attack on Capitol Hill that left five dead and dozens injured and shocked many Americans.
He also highlighted Pelosi’s considerable power over the Democratic-controlled House select committee and his ability to shape the contours of an investigation that could continue until the midterm elections in 2022 and give Democrats a powerful tool to hit Republicans.
The speaker remains keenly aware of how the Republicans, in a blatant display of loyalty to Trump and self-interest in protecting themselves from an investigation that could tarnish their party, blocked the creation of a 9-style commission. / 11 on the attack on the Capitol.
Pelosi has said privately that she will not allow the select committee to derail, the source said, and could block the nomination of hardline Republicans such as Marjorie Taylor Greene, who refused to accept Biden’s victory.
Another concern raised by some Democrats, but not Pelosi herself, is how to approach conflict of interest situations with Republicans who might be nominated to the select committee but also be linked to events on or before the 6th. January.
McCarthy is likely to be tabled by the select committee itself during his phone call to Trump as the insurgency unfolds. McCarthy pleaded with Trump to call off the rioters, only to get the former president to side with his supporters.
Senior House Judiciary Committee Republican Jim Jordan – a likely McCarthy choice for the select committee – has also appeared to suggest in recent months that he spoke with Trump during the insurgency.
Such conversations between Trump and top House Republicans are important because they address the crucial question of what Trump was doing and saying as the Capitol was overrun, and will almost certainly be of utmost importance to the committee’s investigation.
The deliberations over whether to make this kind of aggressive decision – which would actually see Pelosi unilaterally decide on select committee appointments – comes as the speaker prepares to pick a president and his other Democratic members.
Among the main candidates for the head of the committee is the Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Bennie Thompson, who negotiated the framework of the abortive 9/11 commission until January 6 and has the support of the Whip of the majority of the House, Jim Clyburn.
As for other Democratic appointments, members of Pelosi’s leadership and whip teams do not expect the president to appoint any leaders from Trump’s second impeachment trial to the committee, with the possible exception of the member of the Congressman Jamie Raskin, the source said.
The difficult situation surrounding the select committee, which would give Democrats the power to issue subpoenas for witnesses and documents that could reveal new information about the Capitol attack, is indicative of a very partisan dynamic on Capitol Hill .
The bill to create the select committee became a lightning rod for Republicans after the framework reflected the language used by the GOP for the 2014 select committee to investigate the attack on a US compound in Benghazi, Libya .
Pelosi reiterated that the Jan.6 select committee would examine the root causes of the attack on Capitol Hill, although for months Republicans argued Democrats were obsessed with the 6th as a means of tarnishing Trump and their party.
Pelosi decided to create a special House committee – among Congress’ main arms of control – after Senate Republicans blocked the committee, fearing that a detailed account of the attack on Capitol Hill posed an existential threat. for the GOP.
The speaker said she preferred an independent inquiry modeled on the commission set up after the September 11 attacks. But with Republicans opposing and playing down the riot, she finally admitted that only a select committee was possible.
“It is imperative that we seek the truth,” Pelosi said. “It is clear that Republicans are afraid of the truth. “
Several investigations into the attack on the Capitol are already underway within the Department of Justice and Capitol Hill, but they lacked the mandate to conduct a forensic examination of the circumstances and causes of the assault.