After playing coy on the subject, GOP House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is planning to appoint Republicans to the select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Republican sources familiar with his plans tell ABC News.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced last week that Democrats would move forward with creating the select committee after Senate Republicans blocked a proposal for an independent, bipartisan commission.
McCarthy — who will get five appointments to the committee — hadn’t initially decided whether he would appoint anyone at all and reportedly privately threatened Republicans who would accept an appointment by Pelosi.
When asked at a press conference last week about his intentions he said: “When I have news on that, I’ll give it to you.”
A senior GOP aide familiar with the process said there are ongoing efforts to decide which members to appoint, with some likely being allies of former President Donald Trump who have attempted to downplay the rioting and attack at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Some Republicans expect McCarthy to use the appointments to undermine what they see as the key aim of Pelosi in creating the commission — to politically damage Trump and other allies who objected to certifying President Joe Biden’s election victory.
However, McCarthy is also getting pressure from some in the party to appoint more moderate Republican lawmakers. The timing of an announcement is unclear, but is likely to happen within the next two weeks, sources say.
Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., one of the Democrats Pelosi has already tapped for the committee, told on CNN on Thursday that Republicans “have an obligation to put in a good-faith effort to get all the facts.”
“We’re going to start with having law enforcement officers testify to share their experiences that day,” she said when asked whether Trump would be called to testify.
Pressed whether McCarthy himself could be called to testify, as it’s known that he and Trump shared a phone call while rioters stormed the building, Murphy didn’t rule it out.
“I think that members of congress could be and will be probably called to testify under oath about their different perspectives on that day,” she said.
Pelosi last month introduced the measure to from the committee comprising 13 members after a bipartisan 9/11-style commission failed to pass the Senate. Eight committee members are to be selected by Pelosi and the other five chosen by McCarthy must be picked in consultation with the House speaker, the measure dictates.
Pelosi announced last week her selections for the committee, with much of the spotlight on Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, an outspoken critic of Trump who was stripped of her No. 3 GOP leadership role earlier this year.
Pelsoi also said House Homeland Security Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., will chair the committee, which will include Murphy and Reps. Zoe Lofgren, Adam Schiff, Pete Aguilar, Jamie Raskin and Elaine Luria.
Following Pelosi’s press conference, McCarthy denied reports that he threatened GOP members with taking away committee assignments if they were to accept a select committee position but took the chance to question Cheney’s place in the Republican Party.
“I was shocked that she would accept something from Speaker Pelosi. It would seem to me, since I didn’t hear from her, maybe she’s closer to her than us,” McCarthy said.
The resolution to form the House committee to investigate the attack passed last month mostly along party lines — other than Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., who broke from Republicans to vote for its passage.
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