McCarthy is downplaying GOP members for capital riot panel


Initially, there was an internal debate inside the House GOP as to whether California Republicans should appoint members to the select committee or abandon it as a way of portraying the entire effort as partisan. But McCarthy actually plans to put Republicans on the high-profile panel, CNN has learned, according to multiple GOP sources familiar with his intentions, and is in the process of making his own selections. The thinking among Republicans is that Perch would enable them to shape up a countermeasure for an investigation that could implicate not only Donald Trump, but him as well. other members of his party.

And while McCarthy is almost certain to tap a few trusted Trump aides for one of the five Republican spots on the committee, he is facing pressure to choose some of the more practical members for the job who are on his side of the debate. can help in building credibility. Some GOP sources also believe that it would be a smart political move for McCarthy to select at least one member, who has tried to substantiate the results of the presidential election to help inoculate against some of the criticism of Democrats. had voted for.

This is especially true after House Speaker Nancy Pelosic Elected a Republican, Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, as one of his eight selections for Congress to investigate – a move designed to win the bipartisan buyout for his investigative work and sell his findings to a polarized public. Also, the California Democrat has made it clear that she has veto power over McCarthy’s choice, although it is unclear under what circumstances she would be willing to use it.
McCarthy eventually taps for a selection panel that will set the tone for a partisan controversy that is almost certain to drag on in 2022, which is why he wants to strike the right balance with his choice. and it could be far-reaching effect in the Battle of the House, Where Republicans have history and redistribution in their favor, but may be stymied by uncomfortable questions about Trump and the deadly Capitol riots.

“If you don’t (appoint a Republican), the reality is there’s only one news,” said Rep. Kelly Armstrong, a Republican from North Dakota. “I’ve never been the ‘take your ball and go home’ type of guy.”

Yet the deadline for McCarthy’s decision is unclear, although GOP sources believe it may come sooner. As Pelosi noted last week, the January 6 panel now has a quorum, so it can begin its work with or without the likes of McCarthy, meaning for him to slow down his selection. There is very little incentive.

GOP contenders begin to emerge

While some in the GOP would have preferred that their party not participate in the investigation, others, including McCarthy, would put Republicans in a position where they could easily push back Democrats in high-profile hearings and potentially minority reports. can also write. Finish.

But McCarthy is likely to choose the most controversial firebrand in the party, such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green of Georgia or Matt Gaetz of Florida, which would be harder for the Republican leader to control and could undermine the GOP’s strategy.

Instead, McCarthy is likely to tap lawmakers he thinks he can trust or who have proven track records for defending Trump, including those who have voted in Congress. accused of reversing the results.

Ohio Representative Jim Jordan, a staunch Trump aide who has been used by McCarthy as an attack dog in other high-profile assignments, is seen as an obvious choice inside the House GOP convention. But Jordan already has a whole plate: He is the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, chairs a new GOP task force and serves on the coronavirus select committee.

Similarly, the now-House GOP convention president is Alice Stefnik of New York, which was propelled to GOP stardom and became a fundraising powerhouse after fiercely defending the then-president during the first impeachment; Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana, a McCarthy aide and aspiring chair of the conservative Republican Studies Committee; and Representative Mike Johnson of Louisiana, a member of the GOP leadership and a former constitutional law attorney who served as one of Trump’s impeachers in 2019.

If McCarthy does not name Stefnick, he will be under pressure to choose another woman. Indiana Representative Jackie Valorcsi, the ranking GOP member on the House Ethics Committee who was interested in running for leadership earlier this year, is considered another contender for the assignment.

Some Republicans think McCarthy should choose a Republican to sit on the House Administration Committee, which oversees the day-to-day operations of the Capitol, or has expertise in national security, law enforcement, or legal matters. One GOP lawmaker said it should be someone who has a grasp on “security procedures” and “considerable reference to the kinds of things we need to do as a physical feature of the city, but not as a unit of government.” can give.”

A Republican-appointed judge killed GOP deniers on Jan. 6

Other names that have been called for are Rep. Brad Weinstrup of Ohio, a US Army Reserve member who sits on the House Intelligence Committee and was on the field during the GOP baseball shooting in 2017; John Rutherford of Florida, former Sheriff of Jacksonville; and Markwen Mullin of Oklahoma, a former professional mixed martial arts fighter who also sits on the intelligence panel.

McCarthy, however, may be willing to appoint a lawmaker who voted to authenticate the 2020 presidential election results and so could have more sway with liberal pockets of the country. Possible members on that list include Armstrong, a former state party president, as well as Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, who co-chairs the bipartisan Problem Solver Caucus and supported an independent commission on Jan. 6; and Tom McClintock of California, a veteran lawmaker who serves on the House Judiciary Committee. Weinstrup also voted to substantiate the election results.

But a major challenge for McCarthy is that many House Republicans, especially those in the tough re-election race, want to avoid a politically sinister assignment at all costs. Fitzpatrick and Armstrong, however, both told CNN they would serve on the panel if asked – even if they oppose the selection committee.

Comprehensive strategy takes shape

Other elements of the GOP’s game plan are beginning to take shape. Republicans are already under scrutiny as a politically motivated investigation that Democrats are only trying to use to harm Trump and the GOP ahead of the midterm elections — similar to the playbook deployed during Trump’s first impeachment, When they relied heavily on procedure arguments.

Democrats, however, said they had no choice but to set up a select committee After the Senate GOP blocked an independent commission which would have assigned outside experts the task of investigating the rebellion. And even under the select panel format, Democrats say they are motivated only by discovering the truth and preventing another violent siege of the Capitol – not by following their political opponents.

Republicans are also indicating they want to focus on the steps Pelosi took or not to secure the Capitol that day. He is also expected to draw attention to political violence on the left, including last summer’s protests in response to police brutality.

GOP lawmakers will try to derail the Democrats’ investigation at every turn. And that could mean defying subpoenas, which Democrats have said they can issue to compel Trump or other Republicans to testify about the former president’s mindset and conduct on the day of the riots.

“They should go wherever the facts take them. They may be able to get what they want and need without what they need,” South Carolina Democrat House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said. told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.” “I don’t want to see a former president testify in a situation like this, but if it has to get to the bottom of it.”

This story has been updated with additional development on Wednesday.

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