House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy would not rule out yanking Rep. Liz Cheney from the influential House Armed Services Committee amid partisan squabbling over which lawmakers get to serve on the Jan. 6 commission.
Speaking to reporters at his weekly presser Thursday, McCarthy (R-Calif.) played coy when asked about pulling Cheney (R-Wyo.) or Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), who House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is reportedly considering as an acceptable Republican to serve on the commission after rejecting two of his original five choices: Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Oh.) and Jim Banks (R-Ind.).
McCarthy replied that the GOP’s “main focus” was on combating what he argued was the damage caused by Democratic policies, referencing the recent spikes in crime in cities nationwide, securing the border and combating inflation.
“I think it’s a conference decision. The conference will look at it,” he added of taking retribution against Cheney and Kinzinger.
Cheney, whose political future is in limbo after losing her House GOP leadership position for breaking with the 45th president after the riot, faces a growing list of primary challengers over her decision.
The former No. 3 House Republican and daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney went on to be replaced in her leadership post by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY).
Pelosi rejected Banks and Jordan as contenders to sit on the Jan. 6 select committee because she argued they were too partisan, referencing previous statements they had made about the probe.
But Democrats — and even one rogue Republican — that Pelosi selected for the panel have made equally incendiary comments about former President Donald Trump’s role in the Capitol riot.
She added that she was concerned about the “integrity” of the probe in light of comments the two Republicans made about Jan. 6.
Jordan, the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, and Banks, the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, have remained two of Trump’s top defenders in Congress.
McCarthy ultimately opted to pull all five of his selections from serving on the panel, vowing for Republicans to launch their own investigation of the deadly riot.
Pelosi said that Jordan and Banks’ decision to challenge the certification of the election was not a factor in her decision-making process, noting that of McCarthy’s five selections — Banks, Jordan, Reps. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), Kelly Armstrong (S.D.) and Troy Nehls (Texas) — she approved Nehls, who challenged the certification of both Arizona and Pennsylvania.
“Having said that though, the other two made statements and took actions that just made it ridiculous to put them on such a committee seeking the truth,” she told reporters at a press conference on Thursday.
Republicans have accused Pelosi of “being spooked” by Jordan and Banks’ stating that they would like to investigate the security shortcomings, including the delay in approving the authorization to send the National Guard, despite having intelligence indicating a threat weeks in advance.