Pelosi's Choice

[ Posted Tuesday, July 20th, 2021 – 15:58 UTC ]

The ball is now in Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's court. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy finally named his five picks for the 1/6 Select Committee investigation, but the way the bill creating the committee was written gives Pelosi full veto power over any or all of these suggestions. At a minimum, she should reject at least one of the names put forth by McCarthy. [Editorial Note: This entire article should be read "as of this writing," as Pelosi could act at any time.]

In fact, Pelosi wouldn't even have to give any ideological reason for rejecting the most odious of McCarthy's choices. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. First, here are McCarthy's five picks, in alphabetical order: Representatives Kelly Armstrong, Jim Banks (proposed as "ranking Republican," or lead GOP committee member), Rodney Davis, Jim Jordan, and Troy Nehls. One name rather obviously stands out from this list, n'est-ce pas? But perhaps not as much as you might think.

The Washington Post's "Power Up" column had a good rundown of all five (emphasis and bullet points in original):

Three out of the five lawmakers chosen to sit on the committee objected to certifying the election results; all of them voted against impeaching former president Trump; and at least one of the members -- Rep. Jim Jordan -- spoke with [Donald] Trump on the day of the insurrection. Here's what else we know:

  • Rep. Jim Banks, chairman of the Republican Study Committee and an increasingly influential voice in the Republican Party, has been tapped as the ranking member for the committee. Banks was one of three Republicans in Indiana's Congressional Delegation who voted against Biden's electoral college victory.
  • In a statement released after McCarthy's announcement, Banks accused Pelosi of creating the committee "solely to malign conservatives and to justify the Left's authoritarian agenda."
  • Banks curiously added that he "will do everything possible to give the American people the facts about the lead up to January 6, the riot that day, and the responses from Capitol leadership and the Biden administration." [Notable: Biden was not the president on Jan. 6.]
  • Rep. Jim Jordan, a high profile Trump ally who boasted to Power Up a few weeks back that he speaks "to [Trump] all the time," has clashed frequently with Democrats and administration officials during congressional hearings. Jordan was one of the most outspoken Republicans in favor of efforts to block certification of the presidential results.
  • Rep. Rodney Davis and Rep. Kelly Armstrong were among the House GOP lawmakers who did vote to certify Biden's win on Jan. 6.
  • Rep. Troy E. Nehls, a freshman lawmaker who voted to overturn Biden's win, previously worked in law enforcement for over 25 years. He was credited with trying to help Capitol police keep the mob at bay as they tried to enter the House chamber.

Additionally, Banks and Jordan signed onto the lawsuit brought by Texas, which also tried (and failed) to overturn a free and fair presidential election. This lawsuit was a purely political attack (as it had zero evidence) and was duly laughed out of court.

Out of the five, only Davis voted for the creation of a bipartisan commission to investigate the attack.

Which means, at most, three of these Republicans would even be considered minimally-acceptable for such a serious undertaking. Or maybe only two, if Nehls vote against the certification of the Electoral College results is considered disqualifying.

Representatives Banks and Jordan are, quite obviously, not qualified to do anything more than attempt to turn the hearings and the entire investigation into a three-ring circus. Jordan, more so than Banks, just on his grating demeanor and previous grandstanding for the cameras. Also because Jordan might actually be called upon to testify before the committee, about his communication with Donald Trump on that day. Banks is obviously unqualified as well, since he seems to have conveniently forgotten that it was the Trump administration who responded to the insurrectionists (or, more realistically, "didn't respond in the slightest"), since Joe Biden still wouldn't be sworn into office for two more weeks.

Bare minimum, Pelosi must not allow Jim Jordan a seat on this committee. It is entirely within her power to reject him, and she already has a replacement Republican waiting in the wings. Pelosi already -- as one of her own picks -- named Liz Cheney to sit on the committee, but she could also easily appoint Adam Kinzinger as well (he has already said he would be happy to serve on the committee). Like Cheney, Kinzinger is one of the few remaining Republicans who will stand up and call Trump's Big Lie a big lie, so he is a logical choice.

To explain why she was booting Jordan off the committee, Pelosi could use a very easy reason. Pelosi could announce: "I have decided that Representative Jordan is unsuited to this very serious and critical committee because he has proven time and time again that he has absolutely no respect for the rules of order for committee members, or the rules of decorum for House members in general. Please watch this 12-minute clip reel of Jordan talking over and berating not just witnesses, but opposition members on various committees during their time to talk (not his), and even trying to shout down committee chairs as well. I think this montage explains perfectly why I cannot allow someone with this much obvious disrespect and disdain for the rules and (to be blunt) this downright rude to sit on this crucial special committee."

Then she could immediately announce (after playing the video for the reporters) that Adam Kinzinger will be taking Jordan's place. That'd be one way to do it, perhaps the easiest way (since the stated reason would have absolutely no ideological component to it).

Pelosi has one further easy way out, as well. She could announce that nobody who might be called as a witness could serve on the committee. This would obviously bar Jordan as well -- again, for a non-ideological reason.

Or perhaps Pelosi could decide that to be seated, every single committee member would have to state under oath the following: "I swear that I fully and unreservedly believe that Joe Biden was duly elected in a free and fair and secure election; that there was no effort to 'steal' the election for Biden; that there simply is no proof of voter fraud on the sort of scale it would take to affect the outcome in a single state; and that therefore Joe Biden is the rightful president of the United States and of all Americans." I wonder how many of McCarthy's choices could utter those words under oath (without a bolt of lightning striking them down immediately afterwards, of course). Pelosi could easily explain this requirement: "Nobody who believes Trump's Big Lie instead of objective and proven reality is qualified in any way to sit on this committee."

Or Pelosi could reject the three who -- even after the insurrection attempt -- still voted the way the insurrectionists wanted them to, against the certification of the state results. "I'm sorry, but anyone who saw what happened that day and still voted to subvert the will of the voters is unacceptable."

But no matter how many of the suggestions Pelosi rejects (one, two, or three of them), at a bare minimum she needs to bar Jim Jordan. He is the ultimate clown and would transform the hearings into a circus just by his very presence. Allowing this to happen would be a dereliction of duty on Pelosi's part.

If she does decide to reject more than one of the names, Pelosi will have complete control over what happens next. The first committee hearing isn't until the 27th of this month, so she's got a little time. She could bat the ball back to McCarthy's court and allow him to offer up more-acceptable suggestions. She could name sober-minded (and non-seditious) Republicans, although she would likely want to ask them behind closed doors whether they'd be willing to serve or not beforehand (except for Kinzinger, who has already publicly stated he would do so). Or she could just name Democrats instead. All options would be open to her.

The only truly unacceptable course of action for Pelosi right now would be to just shrug her shoulders and allow McCarthy's five picks to be seated on the 1/6 select committee. That would backfire in spectacular fashion. She must use her discretion to scratch (at the very least) Jordan's name off that list. I would argue for Banks to be disqualified as well. But allowing all five of McCarthy's suggestions to serve should really not even be seen as a viable option.

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


22 Comments on “Pelosi's Choice”

  1. [1] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Does anyone still believe this committee is actually going to do anything more than make it harder for Dems to win in the midterms?

  2. [2] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


  3. [3] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    i hope you won't be disappointed

  4. [4] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    i think pelosi should tap liz cheney for replacement picks.

  5. [5] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    It will be infinitely more fun with Jim Jordan on the panel. I have to laugh just thinking about him. Heh.

  6. [6] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    i don't think JJ's getting in. the others, who knows...

  7. [7] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    That's too bad.

  8. [8] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    i think one of the goals of the committee ought to be making the proceedings as dull as possible. just facts, no fireworks.

  9. [9] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Ha! Well, good luck with that.

  10. [10] 
    John M wrote:

    [1] Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "Does anyone still believe this committee is actually going to do anything more than make it harder for Dems to win in the midterms?"

    Elizabeth don't you think that if this was REALLY TRUE then all Republicans would be IN FAVOR of the committee and not HELL BENT AGAINST IT, even to the point of opposing the ORIGINAL BIPARTISAN investigation proposal?

    I think this committee is going to find out a whole lot of stuff that some people want kept swept under the rug, Including PARTICIPATION BY CURRENT SITTING MEMBERS OF CONGRESS in the insurrection that took place! Don't you think that is at least worth the public knowing about????

    Dems will win or lose in the midterms almost entirely because of what they do or don't do on: A) how well the economy is doing, B) what they manage to pass legislatively, (showing voters it was worth coming out and voting for them in the first place, because it MADE A DIFFERENCE and got things ACCOMPLISHED, instead of the old NOTHING EVER CHANGES SO WHY BOTHER mentality - Republicans and Democrats are all the same, etc.) and C) how hard they fight back and overcome voting restrictions and partisan manipulation of vote counting and certification by Republicans.

    The committee's hearings, investigations and findings won't make one single difference to Dems chances of winning, unless there is a bombshell criminal indictment of sitting Republican members of Congress because of it.

  11. [11] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @john m,

    agree, the committee's findings are highly unlikely to impact the election either way.


  12. [12] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    reading the bio on nehls, although he did vote against certifying the election, as a former sheriff he was actively trying to help the capital police secure the building against the mob.

    for me, that's enough to put him on the valid side of the ledger. jordan and banks, however, both seem to continue to have a bias against finding out anything resembling the truth.

  13. [13] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Well, I've seen enough partisan committee hearings to know that this one is only going to be trouble for Democrats gaining seats in the midterms.

    Of course, I'll be very happy to be proven wrong. Ahem.

  14. [14] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    well, pelosi did exactly as i would have.

  15. [15] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    so, who gets to replace them?

  16. [16] 
    Bleyd wrote:

    Liz [15]
    Since McCarthy pulled his choices, he has forfeited any input, so the choice is now Pelosi's alone.

  17. [17] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I see. Well, that should be fun.

  18. [18] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    When are these hearing supposed to get underway?

  19. [19] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    july 27

  20. [20] 
    Kick wrote:

    Jordan is a material witness (along with multiple other lawmakers) and a tool of Donald Trump's attempt to subvert the Constitution of the United States... a crime. Trump enlisted Pence as well, and when Pence refused, Trump put his own VP's life in jeopardy with the angry mob he assembled on January 6.

    Subpoena the White House records on January 6 and get busy calling the witnesses beginning with Minority Leader McCarthy, a fact witness doing everything he can to obstruct the investigation.

  21. [21] 
    Kick wrote:

    Elizabeth Miller

    Does anyone still believe this committee is actually going to do anything more than make it harder for Dems to win in the midterms?

    America is a nation of laws. On January 6, multiple crimes were committed by Donald Trump as well as multiple Republican lawmakers who met multiple times in conspiracy to subvert the constitutionally mandated counting of electors. If we ignore the fact that the President of the United States enlisted the help of lawmakers and his Vice President to subvert the Constitution of the United States and when he refused put the VP's life in danger by the angry mob he assembled and incited, then what?

    Trump likes to repeat ad nauseam his bullshit assertion that without walls, we don't have a country. Trump is close but nevertheless incorrect: Without laws, we're a third world shithole. Ignore this at your own peril and a death blow to democracy.

    I was not kidding when I referred to Donald Trump as "the biggest threat to our country coming not from without, but from within.

    I hear that a lot now. About time too.

  22. [22] 
    Kick wrote:

    Jordan is a tool on the level of the tool Devin Nunes. He's also a material witness and accomplice and aider and abettor and has no business on a committee investigating issues in which he was involved.

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