Washington, Jul 25 (EFE).- Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on Sunday finalized the committee that will investigate the Jan. 6 assault on the US Capitol, selecting a Republican lawmaker critical of former President Donald Trump as the final member.
Pelosi announced that she had nominated Congressman Adam Kinzinger as the ninth member of the House committee, which on Tuesday will hold its first hearing to probe the attack on the Capitol staged by radical followers of Trump, an assault that resulted in five deaths.
“(Kinzinger) brings great patriotism to the Committee’s mission: to find the facts and protect our Democracy,” Pelosi said in a statement praising the Illinois lawmaker’s agreement to serve on the committee.
Kinzinger’s selection brings the Republican complement on the committee to two lawmakers, while the other seven members are all Democrats.
Both Kinzinger – a former military officer who represents the 16th congressional district in Illinois – and the other conservative on the committee, Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney, have been very critical of Trump and are among the 10 GOP lawmakers who voted to convict the ex-president in his impeachment trial over the Capitol assault, a proceeding that resulted in his acquittal.
Initially, the idea was for the committee to be made up of 13 members – eight nominated by Pelosi and five selected by Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, although the Democrat retained the authority to veto any of his picks.
Last Wednesday, Pelosi rejected two Republican lawmakers selected by McCarthy – Jim Banks and Jim Jordan – because both are fervent allies of Trump and have spread and strongly endorsed some of the ex-president’s baseless claims that the November election was “stolen,” thus denying him a second term.
In response, McCarthy withdrew the nominations of the other three Republicans he had selected for the committee and who had received Pelosi’s OK.
The result is a much less bipartisan committee than originally planned, but at least it includes two well-known and respected conservative figures, something that Democrats hope will serve to lend authority to its conclusions.
It is entirely likely, however, that the majority of GOP legislators who continue to back Trump will try to use this imbalance in the committee’s makeup to take away any credibility or legitimacy from its conclusions.
Cheney – the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, who served from 2001-2009 under President George W. Bush – was ousted in May from the post of House Republican Party Conference Chair by fellow GOP lawmakers specifically because she had refuted Trump’s unfounded claims of election fraud.
Kinzinger, meanwhile, on Sunday promised in a statement to work “diligently” and from a “serious, clear-eyed and non-partisan” point of view to arrive at the “truth” of what happened on Jan. 6, a result that many Trump-supporting Republicans seem to want to derail.
“When duty calls, I will always answer,” Kinzinger said upon accepting Pelosi’s appointment, going on to promise to “hold those responsible for the attack fully accountable.”
Scheduled to testify at the Tuesday committee hearing are police officers who responded to the Capitol assault, when hundreds of Trump’s followers broke into the Capitol in a fruitless attempt to prevent Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s victory in the November election, which Trump had claimed had only come about because of massive election fraud.
Five people died and about 140 police officers were attacked during the Capitol assault by demonstrators armed with axes, baseball bats and hockey stocks, among other objects, according to US authorities.