Who Will Sit On The 1/6 Select Committee?

[ Posted Wednesday, June 30th, 2021 – 15:40 UTC ]

The House of Representatives just passed a measure to create a select committee to investigate the 1/6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and all the things which led up to it and fed into it. This will be a partisan undertaking, as the 13 members of this committee will be named by Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- and while she may be open to allowing up to six Republicans on it, she will also have the power to veto any suggestions made by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. It is looking like this committee will provide the most substantive and wide-reaching investigation into all the things which were allowed to go wrong. That's important, because America really does deserve to know the truth -- the whole truth -- about what happened that dark day.

Most House Republicans are incensed. But they simply have no leg to stand on. They really don't. In the first place, while a number of Republicans in the House voted for what would have been a much better way to handle this (a nonpartisan special commission comprised solely of people who were not sitting members of Congress), in the end this measure fell at least three votes short of breaking the inevitable filibuster in the Senate. So Republicans had their chance to get on board with a better way to do it, and they torpedoed this effort. Therefore, they have no real right to complain now about the select committee being "too partisan."

Secondly, one word puts the lie to the moral high road House Republicans are attempting to walk: Benghazi. Republicans, when they were in charge of the chamber, felt no compunction whatsoever to set up purely partisan committees to investigate something they thought would tarnish the leading Democratic presidential candidate -- indeed, over and over again. There were multiple investigations into Benghazi, please remember. The very same Kevin McCarthy even admitted that they were set up to worsen Hillary Clinton's chances of becoming president. And the exact same rules for naming members to the committee applied -- Pelosi (who was only the minority leader, back then) was allowed to put forward names, and McCarthy had the power to veto any of them. In fact, they copied this language exactly in the 1/6 measure, to make this point obvious. So all those House Republicans who now will flood the cable news airwaves with their faux outrage and indignation should immediately be reminded of Hillary Clinton sitting in front of a committee hearing for 11 hours straight, answering every rude and insulting question the Republicans could dream up. Because not until Donald Trump runs a similar gauntlet will things even begin to approach parity, on this front.

So now the question becomes: who will be on the 1/6 select committee? Pelosi is sure to pick some excellent choices for the Democratic side, and she's got eight picks to make without any Republican input. Her office immediately leaked that of these, one would probably actually be a Republican. Pelosi can afford such magnanimity, since there will only be 13 members (even seven Democrats will still be a majority, in other words). So far, betting on which GOP member Pelosi has in mind for such a pick is running about even, between Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney, both of whom have strongly denounced what Trump did and strongly berated the members of their own party who wish to brush the entire event under the rug (or, more like, down the memory hole). Notably, Kinzinger and Cheney were also the only two GOP members to vote for the select committee today -- otherwise it was a straight party-line vote.

So who will the other five select committee members be, and what will the process for selecting them look like, in the end? Kevin McCarthy is so far playing his cards pretty close to his vest, and refuses to even say whether he'll propose names to Pelosi or not. He might just decide to pull a snit and declare a total hands-off approach to the whole committee -- "It's so partisan I can't be a part of it at all, therefore I refuse to participate in any way." Maybe he'd even go so far as to suggest to his caucus that even serving on such a committee would be an act of disloyalty to Trump. Stranger things have happened, and McCarthy is so spineless that, to him, "doing nothing" always looks like a pretty enticing option.

This would backfire, however, on both sides. There are already a number of rabid House Republicans (Marjorie "Three Names" and Jim Jordan, to name but two) demanding McCarthy name them to the committee. They would attempt to make the entire proceedings into a clown show, and (who knows?) they might actually succeed (both have a seemingly-infinite reservoir of clownishness upon which to draw). Over on the Democratic side, Pelosi would shrug her shoulders, perhaps contact a few reasonable Republicans on the other side of the aisle and get a few of them to agree serving, or she could just name all Democrats to the panel (all except, perhaps, Cheney and Kinzinger, both of whom already seem amenable to serving). It would be entirely her choice and she'd be entirely within her rights to do so.

If McCarthy does actually propose names to Pelosi, he will likely put at least a few bomb-throwers on the list, and he might even completely pack the list with those who have shown their ability to inflame liberals in committee hearings (and, on this front, McCarthy would indeed have a wide bench to choose from).

What would Pelosi do then? Would she remove the most objectionable? Some House Republicans, at this point, stand accused of actually aiding and abetting the insurrectionists, so she would have a clear reason to bar the worst of these from the committee investigating the crime.

Pelosi could also refuse to admit anyone who voted to decertify the Electoral College vote as well, which would mean over half the GOP caucus would be ineligible. This action was the true instigator for all of the subsequent events on 1/6, after all. It was a unsubstantiated and scurrilous attack on a foundational part of our American governmental system, and it was begun with the votes to refuse two states' certified election results. They had no proof of wrongdoing, they had no evidence, all they had was one supremely enraged Dear Leader telling them to steal the election for him no matter what. Which they attempted to do. So how could any of these people investigate what happened that day? They were part of it, after all.

In the end, hopefully it won't matter. All the jockeying for seats on the committee will produce 13 members one way or another. Unlike the nonpartisan special commission that was proposed, the House 1/6 select committee will have no timetable and no deadline. They can investigate it until they are satisfied they have all the facts, however long that takes. The special commission would have had to wrap everything up by the end of the calendar year (a provision Republicans insisted on, so the entire thing would have had a lesser impact on the 2022 midterm election season.

But no matter how long it takes, no matter who is on it (clownish or not), America really does deserve to know the truths of what happened that day and what led up to it. Because it is absolutely imperative that it never happen again. Whatever steps need to be taken to ensure this should (hopefully) become clear, as the investigation proceeds. We cannot allow the revisionist "They were just tourists!" propaganda to win. America deserves to know the truth. And for the time being, I'm pretty confident that Nancy Pelosi will take the next steps to uncovering that truth, no matter what Kevin McCarthy decides to do.

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


15 Comments on “Who Will Sit On The 1/6 Select Committee?”

  1. [1] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    Most House Republicans are incensed.

    So all those House Republicans who now will flood the cable news airwaves with their faux outrage and indignation . . .

    These two sentences are kind of at odds, no? The first one really should say: Most House Republicans are pretending to be incensed.

    This type of language matters. Reporters drive me nuts telling us what Florida Man "believes" rather than telling us what he "says".

  2. [2] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    Although I detest Liz Cheney, Pelosi really should choose her.

  3. [3] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    Pelosi could also refuse to admit anyone who voted to decertify the Electoral College vote as well

    I would consider it malpractice on her part if she doesn't. She very good at her job, so I'm fairly confident that she will.

  4. [4] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    the senate GOP really shot itself in the foot by filibustering the commission. house democrats made a shit-ton of compromises to get it through, and it would have been incredibly fair to republicans.

  5. [5] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Well, the GOP isn't really the GOP anymore, is it ...

  6. [6] 
    Kick wrote:

    I have a tune for Sunday...

  7. [7] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Well, you have to show up to play it.

  8. [8] 
    Kick wrote:

    Well, alright then! :)

  9. [9] 
    Mopshell wrote:

    Hi everyone. I hope you're all well and happy. We're currently back in lockdown where I live and that's fine by me - I officially retired in April this year (though I still write occasional articles for PolitiZoom).

    This is a good read, Chris, though there is one minor glitch. McCarthy had no say in the selection of members for the Benghazi House special. Select committees are the purview of the Speaker who was John Boehner at the time. He no doubt consulted with the majority leader but that was Eric Cantor in May 2014, not Qevin McCarthy.

    But it certainly was McCarthy who, the following year, blurted out in an interview that the real objective of the Benghazi special was to tank Clinton's popularity ahead of her presidential run in 2016. That public boast cost him the Speakership which infuriated Boehner who had to work bloody hard to persuade Paul Ryan to agree to stand since he was the only other person who could attract a majority of votes from the very fractured House Republican conference.

    I admit I wasn't a fan of a select committee on Jan 6 but I do understand the pressure on Pelosi to do this and I admire the way she's going about it, particularly with respect to its membership. The wording of H.Res.503 says only that she'll consult with McCarthy regarding the five republican positions. It does not give Qevin the power to appoint without the Speaker's consent.

    If Qevin does present her with a list - all of whom will be bomb-throwers - she can reject them all and appoint five republicans herself. H.Res.503 gives her that authority - and I rather hope she's annoyed enough to do it!

    Of course her Republican choices could turn down her offer of a position on the committee but I don't think it would bother her too much if Kinzinger and Cheney were the only two who agreed to serve.

    By the way, I think media reports that Pelosi is considering putting an extra Republican on the committee is a misunderstanding of the resolution's wording. Pelosi has the authority to choose all five Republicans so she doesn't need to swap out a Democrat to add a Republican. The media doesn't seem to understand that "consult" is not the same as "power to appoint".

    I don't know who Pelosi will choose but I'd like to see Tim Ryan in the chair, partly because he's running for the Senate next year so the higher profile could do him some good.

    I'm having a hard time narrowing down the other choices to just seven because there are so many talented Dems currently in the House. I finally came up with:

    • Jason Crow (CO)
    • Mikie Sherrill (NJ)
    • Terri Sewell (AL)
    • Katie Porter (CA)
    • Lauren Underwood (IL)
    • Hakeem Jeffries (NY)
    • Joaquin Castro (TX)

    From the Republican conference, I'd like to see Pelosi choose:

    • Adam Kinzinger (IL)
    • Peter Meijer (MI)
    • Anthony Gonzales (OH)
    • Brian FitzPatrick (PA)
    • Liz Cheney (WY)

  10. [10] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    I'd like to see Pelosi strong-arm McCarthy from the outset, come with her own shortlist of eligible Republicans from which he has to choose, rather than wait for him to suggest members.

  11. [11] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Sorry Don,

    This is about another man's delusion, not yours...

  12. [12] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    Too bad the committees are not like the speaker and anyone could be on it. It would be hilarious to appoint Hillary and let her grill all the republicans involved or suspected of being involved.

  13. [13] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    Yeppers. Talk about compelling TV!

    I'd lay in a railcar full of popcorn to watch that.

  14. [14] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    Hot diggety dog! Grand larceny!

  15. [15] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


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