House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said she rejected two Republican allies of former President Donald Trump to sit on the Jan. 6 select committee because they were, in her opinion, too partisan due to 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.
The California Democrat on Wednesday vetoed Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jim Banks of Indiana from the committee, saying she was concerned about the “integrity” of the probe in light of comments and actions 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.
But at least three of the democrats on the panel — Reps. Adam Schiff of California, Jamie Raskin of Maryland and Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the committee chair — have also made scathing comments or taken actions against Trump.
Thompson, the chair of the committee, even had to drop a lawsuit he had filed against Trump and his former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani over the Capitol riot when he was tapped by Pelosi.
“In an effort to avoid the appearance of a conflict, I’ve dismissed my claim in the lawsuit I brought to address the events of Jan 6. I will refrain from sharing information that I acquire as Chair of the Select Committee that is not already available to the public or to Congress,” he wrote on Twitter Wednesday.
Thompson’s lawsuit said Trump is personally responsible because he “acted beyond the outer perimeter of his official duties and therefore is susceptible to suit in his personal capacity.”
Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, went on Twitter two days after the Capitol riot to post that Trump “lit the fuse.”
“Donald Trump lit the fuse which exploded at the Capitol. Every day that he remains in office, he is a danger to the Republic. He should leave office immediately, through resignation, the 25th Amendment or impeachment,” Schiff wrote on Jan. 8.
The House on Jan. 13 voted to impeach Trump over his role in the Jan. 6 uprising, and Raskin served as the lead impeachment manager in the Senate trial.
In his closing argument, Raskin implored the chamber to convict Trump.
“None of this would have happened without the president. The president could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by the president of the United States of his office, and of his oath to the Constitution,” he said. “I will vote to impeach the president.”
The Senate voted to acquit Trump.
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.
After being tapped by McCarthy to lead Republicans on the panel as ranking member, Banks released a statement criticizing the scope of the investigation and alleging Pelosi “created this committee solely to malign conservatives.”
“Make no mistake, Nancy Pelosi created this committee solely to malign conservatives and to justify the Left’s authoritarian agenda,” the statement said.
“Even then, I will do everything possible to give the American people the facts about the lead up to January 6, the riot that day, and the responses from Capitol leadership and the Biden administration. I will not allow this committee to be turned into a forum for condemning millions of Americans because of their political beliefs.”
And Jordan, who was one of Trump’s most visible defenders during both impeachment trials, previously argued that both the bipartisan 9/11-style commission that was blocked in the Senate and the select committee were slanted in favor of Democrats.
As Pelosi noted during her Thursday presser, it was the Trump administration in charge during and immediately after the deadly riot. President Biden was not inaugurated until Jan. 20, exactly two weeks after.
While Republicans have accused Pelosi of politicizing the investigation, she insisted it’s “not even bipartisan, it’s nonpartisan,” adding that it is about “seeking the truth.”
“We’re there to seek the truth, we’re there to get the truth, not to get Trump,” she said. “Trump seems to be what the other side is obsessed with.”
She cited Rep. Liz Cheney’s (R-Wyo.) participation in the committee while pushing back against allegations of a partisan investigation. But Cheney is a former member of House GOP leadership who was ousted as the No. 3 Republican in the House over her criticisms of Trump, and her vote to impeach him over the riot.
“I’m very pleased with the leadership of Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) our chairman, the bipartisan nature of our committee with Liz Cheney, the other members on the committee who have experience and patriotism as their calling card,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi also refused to criticize Thompson’s remarks to The Guardian Wednesday, where he told them he was prepared to go beyond the former president’s tent to pursue a wide-ranging inquiry against the former president and some of his most prominent allies on Capitol Hill. “Nothing is off limits,” he said.
Banks has slammed accusations that he was not serious about the role, telling The Post Wednesday: “I served my country in Afghanistan, and she [Pelosi] is saying that I’m not up to playing a serious role in this January 6 committee,” he said. But it just goes to show all along this was never a serious effort on their part, it’s all it’s all a political witch hunt.”
It remains unclear whether the Speaker will tap additional GOP members to sit on the panel, telling reporters “we’ll see” when asked if she would consider tapping another Republican, such as Trump critic Rep. Adam Kinzinger (D-Ill.) to serve.
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.
“In my press release after I was announced to take on this role, those are the questions that I said I was going to demand answers for and she’s afraid of going down that path, she was spooked, and she rejected us because of it,” Banks told The Post.