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The problem with Kevin McCarthy's GOP picks for the Jan. 6 probe

It's tough to imagine how McCarthy's selections for the committee will help advance the interests of the investigation into January's insurrectionist riot.

It was three weeks ago when House members voted to create a special select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Soon after, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) unveiled her selections for the panel, including Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.). House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), however, initially refused to say whether he'd nominate any members to participate in the probe.

Indeed, the House GOP leader raised all kinds of unfortunate complaints about the committee, suggesting he didn't think the investigation should happen at all, and leaving the impression that Cheney would remain the only Republican on the panel.

Yesterday, however, McCarthy finally made an announcement.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has selected five members to join the select committee charged with investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, two Republican aides said Monday. McCarthy tapped Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Rodney Davis of Illinois, Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota and Troy Nehls of Texas to serve on the panel.

Banks, who currently serves as the chair of the Republican Study Committee, will fill the role of ranking member on the select committee, effectively making him the lead GOP representative in the investigation.

If the Hoosier's name sounds at all familiar, Banks recently made headlines by sending a memo to his fellow House Republicans, urging them to "lean into" the culture war as a way of returning to power. He specifically emphasized critical race theory as a winning issue for the congressional GOP, despite the fact that Congress has nothing to do with where, how, or whether the theory is taught.

Ohio's Jim Jordan, of course, is also a well-known political figure, having earned a reputation as a far-right firebrand and unyielding Trump ally. The congressman was also accused of having turned a blind eye to sexual abuses at Ohio State during his tenure as a coach at the university.

But stepping back, it's difficult to imagine how McCarthy's selections for the committee will help advance the interests of the investigation into January's insurrectionist riot.

  • Three of these five members -- Banks, Jordan, and Nehls -- voted against certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election, even after the attack.
  • Two of the five -- Banks and Jordan -- signed onto a legal brief, asking the Supreme Court to reject the election results. (Nehls might've joined them, but he hadn't yet taken office.)
  • Each of the five voted against creating the select committee on which they're poised to serve. Four of the five voted against creating an independent Jan. 6 commission, too.

Because of the way in which the committee was approved, McCarthy's selections are more suggestions than appointments: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has final say over who serves on the panel, and in theory, she could veto the minority leader's choices.

There's been no indication that she will take such a step, though the Speaker's office hasn't endorsed McCarthy's picks, either.

The first hearing for the committee is currently scheduled for July 27, which is a week from today. Watch this space.