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Right-wing lawmakers who have downplayed the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol are among the only House Republicans expressing interest in serving on a select committee to investigate the attack, while moderate and anti-Trump Republicans are mostly balking at the idea.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who was stripped of her committee assignments in February and has spread conspiracy theories about the Jan. 6 riot, told CNN on Saturday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “should put me on the committee,” adding, “that would be great.”
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who has embraced a conspiracy theory that federal agents incited the riot, told Forbes he is interested, arguing that his defense of Trump during the Russia probe shows he’s “pretty good at asking questions,” and adding, “I think I’d be helpful.”
“I serve when called. Always have,” said Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), who has also embraced the federal agent theory, for which there is no evidence, blasted FBI Director Chris Wray for not calling the riot “basically peaceful,” and protested the characterization of it as an “armed” attack.
The text of the resolution requires House Speaker Nancy Pelosi only to appoint the committee’s 13 members “in consultation” with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, giving her the final say.
Asked if she would block the appointment of Greene and other GOP lawmakers who have downplayed the attack, Pelosi told Forbes “we’ll see who he sends,” expressing hope McCarthy will “be respectful of our Constitution, our Congress and our democracy.”
Among the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump, Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) told Forbes he has a “hard time envisioning a scenario” where he accepts an appointment, while Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio) said, “No. Well, probably not,” when asked if he would serve.
Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) both said it’s up to Pelosi, Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.) said it’s “a bridge we’ll cross if we come to it,” and Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) dodged the question entirely.
8. That’s how many members of the committee Pelosi gets to pick, including the chair, compared to only five for McCarthy. A Pelosi aide told Forbes she is “strongly considering” a Republican as one of her picks, which would likely be one of the 10 who voted for impeachment.
“I worry that modeling after the Benghazi commission is putting us down the wrong path, so I have deep reservations,” Meijer told Forbes of his reservations about the select committee. He expressed concern about “bomb-throwers” and said appointees should be “clear-eyed, honest and frankly trying to get out the truth rather than trying to hammer out… talking points.”
“Leadership recommends a NO vote,” House Minority Leader Steve Scalise said in an alert to all House Republicans, which alleged the committee is “likely to pursue a partisan agenda to politicize” the attack, rather than “conducting a good faith investigative effort.”
What To Watch For
The House is slated to vote on a resolution to create the committee on Wednesday. It will likely get far fewer Republican votes than the 35 who voted for an independent commission – which was blocked by Senate Republicans – but it only needs Democratic support to pass, and no Democrats have signaled opposition.