House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday named Rep. Liz Cheney, Wyoming Republican, an outspoken foe of former President Donald Trump, to serve on the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Ms. Cheney said she was “honored” to be chosen, but House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called her decision to accept the appointment from the Democratic leader “unthinkable.” He has warned GOP colleagues not to participate in the panel.
“I was shocked that she would accept something from Speaker Pelosi,” Mr. McCarthy said at a press conference following the speaker’s announcement. “It would appear to me, since I didn’t hear from her, she’s closer to [Mrs. Pelosi] than us. I don’t know.”
Ms. Cheney, one of two Republicans to vote in favor of establishing the select committee, was the only Republican chosen by Mrs. Pelosi. She also voted for Mr. Trump’s impeachment for inciting the riot.
House Republicans ousted Ms. Cheney from her leadership post earlier this year after she continued to speak out against Mr. Trump’s role in the riot.
“Congress is obligated to conduct a full investigation of the most serious attack on our Capitol since 1814,” she said. “What happened on Jan. 6 can never happen again. 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 nonpartisan manner.
She said lawmakers’ “oath to the Constitution, our commitment to the rule of law, and the preservation of the peaceful transfer of power must always be above partisan politics.”
The select committee, which passed the House yesterday in a 222 to 190 vote, gives Democrats significant leeway in shaping the committee. Mrs. Pelosi named eight of the 13 members including the committee’s chair, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, Mississippi Democrat.
Mr. McCarthy will have the opportunity to consult with the speaker on the remaining five remaining appointments. Mrs. Pelosi will have veto power.
Many lawmakers in both parties initially favored a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack, in which thousands of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol as Congress was counting the Electoral College votes certifying President Biden’s victory. Five people died in connection to the riot, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick.
But the proposal for a bipartisan commission failed in the Senate.
Mr. McCarthy reportedly has warned Republican members that they would be stripped of their committee assignments if they participated in the select committee. But he stopped short Thursday of directly threatening Ms. Cheney’s committee assignments.
“I’m not making any threats about committee assignments,” Mr. McCarthy said. But he said does not know how Ms. Cheney could expect to take a committee assignment from the speaker and expect to have them from the Republican conference as well.
Mr. McCarthy remained silent on the degree to which the Republican Party will participate in the Select Committee. He will have the opportunity to consult with the speaker on the remaining five remaining appointments, but has yet to make any appointments.
“When I have news on that I will give it to you,” Mr. McCarthy said.
Mrs. Pelosi declined to comment on Mr. McCarthy’s comments during a press briefing Thursday morning.
“We’d hope that they would choose them expeditiously,” she said. But clarified that the committee now has a quorum.
The speaker’s remaining picks are Democratic Reps. Zoe Lofgren, Adam B. Schiff and Pete Aguilar of California; Stephanie Murphy of Florida, Jamie Raskin of Maryland, and Elaine Luria of Virginia. Mr. Raskin was the lead House impeachment manager in January.
“As we enter the Fourth of July weekend to observe the birth of our nation, we do so with increased responsibility to honor the vision of our Founders and to defend our American democracy,” Mrs. Pelosi said in a statement.
“Today, I am proud to name members who will patriotically honor our oath and our responsibility to the American people: to seek the truth,” Mrs. Pelosi said.