GOP lawmakers seek punishment for colleagues appointed to riot select committee


A number of House Republicans want GOP Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger punished for serving on committee probing Jan. 6 insurrection.

Some House Republicans are furious that two of their own members accepted Speaker Nancy Pelosi's invitation to serve on a special committee created to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, and want those members punished for their decision to take the probe seriously, CNN reported.

Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) were both appointed by Pelosi to sit on the House select committee to probe the insurrection. Their seats on the investigative panel make its makeup bipartisan.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had sought to delegitimize the probe by pulling all of his own appointments from the committee in protest.  McCarthy did that after Pelosi refused to seat Reps. Jim Banks (R-IN) and Jim Jordan (R-OH) on the committee because both men voted to overturn the election while  pushing lies that the 2020 election was stolen for President Joe Biden, a claim many believe helped lead to the insurrection.

Cheney accepted Pelosi's invitation to serve on the select committee on July 1.

On Sunday, Pelosi invited Kinzinger to serve on the panel, saying in a statement, "He brings great patriotism to the Committee's mission: to find the facts and protect our Democracy."

Kinzinger wrote that he "humbly accepted" the appointment, adding in a statement, "We are duty-bound to conduct a full investigation on the worst attack on the Capitol since 1814 and to make sure it can never happen again."

"Let me be clear, I'm a Republican dedicated to conservative values, but I swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution—and while this is not the position I expected to be in or sought out, when duty calls, I will always answer," Kinzinger added.

CNN reported that Kinzinger's appointment to the panel led to uproar from House Republicans who do not support the probe.

Some House Republicans, particularly members of the far-right Freedom Caucus, are demanding that McCarthy and GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik start the process to remove Cheney and Kinzinger from their other House committee assignments as punishment for their decisions to join the select committee.

It's unclear whether either plans to take such a drastic step to punish both Cheney and Kinzinger.

Before Pelosi appointed either Cheney or Kinzinger to the panel, McCarthy had warned GOP lawmakers that they could face punishment if they accepted an invitation to the select committee.

But CNN has reported that, even if he did remove two of his members from their committees, Pelosi has the power to reinstate them, undoing McCarthy's punishment.

Republicans have sought to stonewall investigations into the insurrection for months, with some fearing that an investigation could imperil the party's chances at winning the congressional majorities they seek in the 2022 midterms.

Senate Republicans blocked the creation of an independent outside commission to investigate the attack, which would have given Republicans equal power to Democrats veto potential subpoenas for records or interviews from relevant witnesses of the attack. That led House Democrats to move forward in creating a select committee.

Both Cheney and Kinzinger have been consistent in supporting attempts to investigate the origins of the Jan. 6 attack, as well as come up with solutions to ensure a similar attack never happens again in the future.

Both have blamed former President Donald Trump himself for the insurrection, in which a mob of his supporters violently broke into the U.S. Capitol — injuring 140 law enforcement officers — in an attempt to block the peaceful transition of power from Trump to now Biden.

And Cheney has been very vocal in criticizing her own party's role in the attack, even calling McCarthy's attempts to stonewall and muddy the investigation "disgraceful."

The select committee will have its first hearing on Tuesday. A handful of law enforcement officers who responded to the attack will testify.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.