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Pelosi appoints Kinzinger to 1/6 House select committee

<i>Caroline Brehman/AP/FILE</i><br/>House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it's her
AP
Caroline Brehman/AP/FILE
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it's her "plan" to appoint GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger

By Daniella Diaz, Melanie Zanona and Aaron Pellish, CNN

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Sunday she has appointed GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger to the House select committee to investigate the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, bolstering the Republican presence on the panel after GOP leadership pulled its appointees last week.

“Today, I am announcing the appointment of Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger, an Air Force veteran and Lieutenant Colonel in the Air National Guard, to serve on the Select Committee,” Pelosi said in a statement. “He brings great patriotism to the Committee’s mission: to find the facts and protect our Democracy.”

Kinzinger, a vocal critic of former President Donald Trump who was one of 10 House Republicans to vote for his second impeachment, is joining Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming as the only Republicans on the new select committee, which is set to hold its first hearing on Tuesday.

“Let me be clear, I’m a Republican dedicated to conservative values, but I swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution—and while this is not the position I expected to be in or sought out, when duty calls, I will always answer,” the Illinois Republican said in a statement Sunday.

Kinzinger’s appointment may bring additional legitimacy to one of the most consequential investigations ever conducted by Congress and will likely make it harder for Republicans to argue that it’s a partisan endeavor — although they quickly framed Pelosi’s announcement that way.

“The Speaker has structured this select committee to satisfy her political objectives,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in a statement Sunday.

McCarthy withdrew all his five of GOP appointees from the panel last week after Pelosi rejected two of his choices — Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio — for their roles in pushing to overturn the presidential election results. The other three selected by McCarthy were Reps. Rodney Davis of Illinois, Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota and Troy Nehls of Texas. Banks, Jordan and Nehls all objected to the certification of the 2020 presidential election.

“Speaker Pelosi’s rejection of the Republican nominees to serve on the committee and self-appointment of members who share her pre-conceived narrative will not yield a serious investigation,” McCarthy said in his Sunday statement.

Pelosi named Cheney — another vocal Trump critic who voted for his impeachment earlier this year — among her eight selections to the panel earlier this month.

Pelosi had said earlier Sunday that it was her “plan” to appoint Kinzinger to the committee.

“That would be my plan,” she said when asked by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos if she wanted to add him. CNN reported last week that Pelosi was eyeing Kinzinger for the panel.

“I do believe that the work of this committee, in order to retain the confidence of the American people, must act in a way that has no partisanship, is all about patriotism, and I’m very proud of the members of the committee and I’m very certain they will accomplish that goal. We have to again ignore the antics of those who do not want to find the truth,” Pelosi said on ABC’s “This Week,” referencing Banks and Jordan.

Following the appointment Sunday, Kinzinger is already facing blowback from his own party — something Cheney has experienced in spades.

Initially, most rank-and-file Republicans were content to let Cheney serve without much of a fight, but Kinzinger’s addition has changed the conversation and put a new level of pressure on McCarthy.

“There’s a lot,” one GOP member told CNN about the push to have the pair removed from their other committees. “Supporting Pelosi’s unprecedented move to reject McCarthy’s picks was a bridge too far.”

Tuesday’s hearing will feature new video footage from the perspective of police officers who were engaged with the mob during the attack, a source familiar with the planning told CNN.

The footage is expected to give viewers new perspectives into what first responders experienced and further underscore to the public the violence that unfolded.

The hearing will also include testimony from police officers who defended the Capitol that day. The four officers testifying — DC Metropolitan Police Officers Daniel Hodges and Michael Fanone, plus Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn and Sgt. Aquilino Gonell — have shared their stories publicly before, which include accounts of being beaten with a flagpole, being the target of racist slurs, being crushed in a door and being tased by the rioters.

Republican removed from committee says Kinzinger would ‘stick to (Pelosi’s) narrative’

Ahead of Pelosi’s announcement, Banks criticized the potential addition of Kinzinger on Sunday, saying Pelosi only wants people “who will stick to her talking points.”

“It’s clear that Pelosi only wants members on this committee who will stick to her talking points and stick to her narrative,” Banks said in an interview with Fox News on Sunday.

“That’s why she’s picked the group that she’s already picked, and anyone that she asked to be on this committee from this point moving forward will be stuck to her narrative.”

Banks revealed he found out about his removal from the committee by reading Twitter and said he believes Pelosi vetoed his and Jordan’s appointments to the committee because they planned to ask questions about the speaker’s role in failing to secure the Capitol on January 6.

“The speaker of the House has more control and authority and responsibility over the leadership of the Capitol Police than anyone else in the United States Capitol, so she doesn’t want us to ask these questions because at the end of the day, she is ultimately responsible for the breakdown of security at the Capitol that happened on January 6,” Banks said.

CNN has previously debunked the claim that Pelosi is responsible for security at the Capitol. US Capitol Police reports to the Capitol Police Board, made up of the House and Senate Sergeants at Arms, the Architect of the Capitol, and the Chief of Capitol Police.

This story has been updated with new reporting.

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CNN’s Manu Raju and Lauren Fox contributed to this report.

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