WASHINGTON, July 19 (Reuters) – U.S. House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy nominated five members of his party, including staunch Trump ally Jim Jordan, to serve on a special congressional panel probing the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, his office said on Monday.
McCarthy is also naming Representatives Jim Banks, Rodney Davis, Kelly Armstrong and Troy Nehls to the committee, a statement from McCarthy’s office said.
House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier this month announced eight members of the committee, including one Republican, Representative Liz Cheney, who has been one of the most prominent critics of Republican former President Donald Trump.
McCarthy said at the time he was shocked that Cheney would accept Pelosi’s invitation to be on the committee.
The special congressional panel was created to investigate the events leading up to and on Jan. 6, when Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to stop Democrat Joe Biden from being certified the winner of last November’s presidential election.
Trump has falsely claimed he lost the election because of widespread electoral fraud.
Under the legislation creating the panel, it is up to Pelosi, a Democrat, whether she will accept McCarthy’s recommendations on Republican members.
Four people died on the day of the violence, one shot dead by police and the other three of natural causes. A Capitol Police officer who had been attacked by protesters died the following day. Two police officers who took part in the defense of the Capitol later took their own lives. More than a hundred police officers were injured.
Republican leaders resisted any special panel to investigate the Capitol assault, noting that existing congressional committees have been doing their own probes and that more than 500 people have already been charged with crimes.
Some Republicans have downplayed the riot, with Representative Andrew Clyde comparing it to a visit by tourists.
Just before the attack, Trump delivered fiery remarks at the White House and then encouraged his supporters to march to Capitol Hill.
Jordan is a member of the conservative group of lawmakers known as the House Freedom Caucus. In a response to being named to the panel, he tweeted video footage of several Democrats on the House floor in 2017 attempting to object to the certification of some states’ Electoral College votes for Trump.
Banks chairs the Republican Study Committee, the largest conservative grouping in the House. “I have accepted Leader McCarthy’s appointment to this committee because we need leaders who will force the Democrats and the media to answer questions so far ignored. Among them, why was the Capitol unprepared and vulnerable to attack on January 6?” he said in a statement.
Davis is the senior Republican on the House Administration Committee, while Armstrong served on the House Judiciary Committee during the first Trump impeachment.
Nehls is a freshman representative. “He is … looking forward to getting to the bottom of how U.S. Capitol Police leadership failed their rank and file officers, members of Congress, and our entire country on that dark day,” a spokesman said.
(Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Peter Cooney)