House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has homed in on five Republicans whom he’s looking to tap for the Democrat-led select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
While the California Republican took his time deciding between naming more experienced members to the probe, filling his seats with firebrands, and refusing to tap any members at all, McCarthy ultimately chose to go with the former route with his selections, expected to become formal as soon as today. His picks have the committee leadership and oversight chops to counter Democrats who are expected to use the select panel to hammer Donald Trump and the GOP for fueling the deadly assault on the Capitol.
McCarthy’s picks, all talked about as likely, are led by Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), chair of the Republican Study Committee, as the ranking member of the panel. Banks, who oversees the largest House GOP caucus, is viewed within the party as a skilled messenger.
The other members include Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis, a moderate who serves as the top Republican on the House Administration Committee; Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee; Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.), a lawyer by trade who served on the House Judiciary Committee during the first Trump impeachment; and freshman Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas), a former sheriff who supported Capitol Police in turning back rioters who tried to break into the House floor during the siege.
McCarthy’s appointment comes days before the select panel is set to hold its first hearing, featuring witnesses from the U.S. Capitol Police Department and Metropolitan Police Department. Among the Democratic-named members of the committee is Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), a McCarthy critic ousted from House GOP leadership for her condemnation of Trump.
The investigation is expected to be highly contentious, as both parties wrestle to pin blame for the security failures on Jan. 6 that led to scores of law enforcement injuries as Trump supporters rioted to try to disrupt Congress from certifying his loss to President Joe Biden. Three out of McCarthy’s five expected selections for the Republican side of the select panel voted in favor of challenges to certification of Biden’s victory.
Jordan declined Monday to say whether he has been asked by McCarthy to serve on the panel. When asked whether he is willing, the Ohio Republican said the decision is “totally up to Kevin” but that he would join the roster if asked.