Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California) has announced her picks for a select committee to investigate the Capitol breach of January 6, and included among them is Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming), who up until May was the third-highest ranking member of the Republican caucus in the House.
Pelosi’s selections were announced a day after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) threatened to strip fellow Republicans of their committee assignments if they serve on the body.
McCarthy made the threat on Wednesday, reportedly telling a group of Republican freshmen lawmakers that anyone accepting a role from Pelosi to be on the panel would lose their positions on congressional committees, according to sources with knowledge of the conversation. On Thursday, after Pelosi announced her picks for the select committee, McCarthy denied making the threat, but in the same breath suggested retaliation was possible for any Republican lawmaker that had been cooperative with the House Speaker on the matter.
“I’m not making any threats about committee assignments, but you know how Congress works,” McCarthy said to reporters. “You get elected by your district and you get your committees from your conference … I don’t know in history where someone would go get their committee assignments from the Speaker and expect to have them from the conference as well.”
Cheney lost her position in the GOP caucus after voting to impeach former President Donald Trump, and for refusing to bolster his false claims of election fraud, which many (including a majority of Americans) view as being partly responsible for the attack on the Capitol in the first place.
“I’m honored to have been named to serve on the January 6th select committee,” she said in a statement on Thursday. “Congress is obligated to conduct a full investigation of the most serious attack on our Capitol since 1814.”
The House voted to form the select committee earlier this week, after a bipartisan effort was blocked in the Senate by a Republican filibuster.
“January 6th was one of the darkest days in our nation’s history, with five people killed, 140 members of law enforcement physically harmed and countless more seriously traumatized,” Pelosi said in a statement. “It is clear that January 6th was not simply an attack on a building, but an attack on our very democracy: an attack on the peaceful transfer of power.”
In addition to Cheney, Pelosi also named seven Democrats to serve on the committee — Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi) to chair the committee, and Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-California), Adam Schiff (D-California), Pete Aguilar (D-California), Stephanie Murphy (D-Florida), Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland) and Elaine Luria (D-Virginia) to serve on the committee.
The five remaining members will be named after consultation with McCarthy. If McCarthy selects only Republicans to serve, six members will be from the GOP.
Cheney was one of only two Republicans in the House to vote in favor of forming the select committee on which she now serves. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois), the other Republican that voted for it, responded to McCarthy’s threat of stripping members of committee assignments if they accepted an invite from Pelosi to take part.
“Who gives a shit?” Kinzinger said to Politico, adding that it was “ironic” that McCarthy wouldn’t “go after the space lasers and white supremacist people” in his party.