House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's record related to the Jan. 6 attack is tough to defend. The California Republican initially endorsed an official investigation into the assault on the Capitol before he changed his mind, helped derail the creation of an independent commission that his own point person had helped shape, and tried to sabotage the bipartisan congressional select committee.
Complicating matters, it was in mid-July when McCarthy declared that House Republicans would "pursue our own investigation of the facts" surrounding the deadly violence. At a Capitol Hill press conference, the GOP leader added, "We will make sure we get to the real answers."
As we discussed in September, there was little to suggest House Republicans were, in fact, conducting their own probe. That said, Axios reported overnight that there have been some developments on this front.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), a conservative caucus leader with close ties to McCarthy, will share on a House GOP conference call Tuesday a separate investigation from House Republicans who Pelosi kicked off her Jan. 6 committee — a group that includes him.... Banks also will circulate a memo describing Pelosi's committee as "illegitimate," according to a source familiar with the document.
According to Axios' reporting, which has not been independently verified by MSNBC or NBC News, Banks intends to update his Republican colleagues today on the interviews that GOP leadership staff has conducted as part of their unofficial, parallel probe.
The Indiana congressman, who chairs the Republican Study Committee, also expects to produce some kind of partisan report on the GOP leadership's findings.
To appreciate how foolish this is, it's probably worth taking a moment to review how we arrived at this point.
The original plan was for an independent commission along the lines of the 9/11 Commission. Before it could be created, congressional Republicans made a series of demands; Democrats accepted the GOP's terms; and Republicans killed the idea anyway.
At that point, Congress moved to Plan B: The House created a bipartisan, special select committee to investigate the insurrectionist attack. As part of the process, GOP leaders were invited to recommend a slate of House Republicans to serve on the panel, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had the final call on whether or not they qualified.
McCarthy picked five members, with Banks slated to serve as the ranking member. Pelosi, however, rejected two of the five — including Banks, who not only refused to vote to certify his own country's election results, but who seemed to disqualify himself with rhetoric indicating he had no intention of taking the investigatory process seriously.
At that point, GOP leaders announced a boycott of the committee. Pelosi nevertheless found two House Republicans — Wyoming's Liz Cheney and Illinois' Adam Kinzinger — willing to serve on the bipartisan panel. Cheney ultimately became the committee's co-chair.
Banks nevertheless proceeded to send letters to government agencies, requesting information, and identifying himself as the "ranking member" of the Jan. 6 panel in official correspondence. This was, of course, utterly bizarre: Banks couldn't be the ranking member of the committee since he isn't even on the committee.
And now, the Republican Hoosier — the one who isn't part of the official investigation into the Jan. 6 attack — apparently intends to help release a report on findings that will be separate from the official findings from the committee he pretended to be a part of.
By all accounts, the rival partisan report will focus on Capitol security failures, though a pair of bipartisan Senate committees already did that. Watch this space.