House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday appointed a fierce critic of Donald Trump from within his party to a select committee investigating the January 6 US Capitol insurrection, in a move challenging other Republicans to join the fact-finding probe.
Congresswoman Liz Cheney, recently booted from Republican leadership because she refused to tone down her public criticism of Trump, said she was honored to have been picked to serve on the panel.
“What happened on January 6th can never happen again,” Cheney said in a statement, referring to the deadly riot that occurred when a pro-Trump mob broke through police lines, threatened lawmakers and ransacked parts of the Capitol.
“Those who are responsible for the attack need to be held accountable and this select committee will fulfill that responsibility in a professional, expeditious and non-partisan manner,” she said.
Cheney was one of two Republicans who voted Wednesday to establish the panel, complete with subpoena power, weeks after Senate Republicans blocked an independent and bipartisan 9/11-style national commission.
The House’s top Republican Kevin McCarthy said it was “shocking” and “unprecedented” for Cheney to accept the committee post from the Democratic speaker.
But he insisted he had not threatened her with removal from her standard committee assignments.
McCarthy also warned that the process had become too politicized.
Pelosi assigned Bennie Thompson to head the select committee, one of seven Democrats she named to the 13-member panel.
It was not clear whether McCarthy would name any Republicans.
“We had hoped that they would choose them expeditiously,” the speaker said.
Pelosi’s office said the committee will investigate the facts and causes of the “terrorist mob attack” on the Capitol, and will report its finding and recommendations for preventing future attacks.
Republicans who oppose the panel have pointed to the more than 500 people arrested for their part in the unrest, and said those court cases will help shed sufficient light on what happened.
Pelosi and Thompson said they could not provide a timeline for the committee’s final report, but it could be completed in 2022, the year of closely watched midterm elections.