politico – Democrats reluctantly accept McCarthy’s picks for January 6 committee

Three of the five Republican candidates voted to challenge the certification of former President Donald Trump’s electoral defeat. But while this fact may infuriate the core of House Democrats, lawmakers themselves seem resigned to moving forward and have little appetite to challenge McCarthy’s choices – over which Speaker Nancy Pelosi technically wields a power of veto.

As some Democrats see, enough House Republicans voted against certification of election results that McCarthy was likely to name at least one select committee member who supported Trump’s election challenge. Two-thirds of the roughly 200 members of the House Republican Conference voted Jan.6 to oppose President Joe Biden’s victory.

“Just based on the math, so many of them voted against the certification of the election, you know, [McCarthy would] be hard pressed “to take another route, said Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), who was appointed by Pelosi to the select committee.

Even Democrats who admitted they were angry with McCarthy’s choices were willing to accept the outcome.

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), One of the last lawmakers to leave the House floor during the insurgency, reserved his harshest criticisms for the GOP leader.

“It’s McCarthy who basically says he doesn’t care,” McGovern said, adding that “I don’t agree” with members like Jordan on the committee. “But what can I do about it?”

Representative Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), Another member of the select committee recruited by Pelosi, said the panel would impose “serious parliamentary order” in an attempt to ease the disruption, adding that he hoped members Republicans would “take their responsibilities seriously.”

As Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) Saw, McCarthy could have made “even worse” choices. Some Democrats had worried that the GOP might have tried to name far-right members they suspected of complicity in the attacks, such as Reps Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) Or Lauren Boebert (R -Colo.). No evidence has emerged of such activity.

Representative Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) said the votes of appointed GOP panel members against the election results were disqualifying, but were referred to Pelosi on whether to sit for Republicans.

“They are part of the problem,” Escobar said. “They are helping to fuel the big lie that caused January 6. If we are to have a legitimate outcome and a legitimate process, there must be legitimate people.”

Democrats are still deciding how to react to McCarthy’s choices, party sources say. One of them said he encouraged his colleagues to “relax” while waiting for Pelosi’s advice. The president has the last word on the composition of the select committee and Told CNN, she “still considered McCarthy’s choices but added that their votes on the election results were” not a service standard. ”

Among Republicans, McCarthy’s picks won praise across the conference, from moderates to right-wing members of the House Freedom Caucus.

“They all have different points of view. They all come from different backgrounds, and I think this is all very healthy, ”said Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Texas). “But in terms of smart, capable and honest brokers, all are.”

McCarthy’s five picks come from different backgrounds and strengths, but all are members he can trust.

Republicans see Banks as the GOP foil of committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.): Both have a reputation for being measured, level-headed, and able to stay on message. Still, the small panel will be a test for Banks, who is taking on the leadership role for the first time by overseeing a large-scale investigation.

The banks, which have a military background, will have to counter Democratic attempts to tie Trump to the supporters who staged the Jan.6 rally, which preceded the insurgency by supporters of the former president. Already, Republicans have hammered the inquiry as a partisan effort to harm the GOP as they approach midterms next year by suing Trump.

Jordan, who is expected to be the toughest pro-Trump attack dog on the panel, has previously called the investigation “impeachment 3.0.” The GOP sees him as a match for some of the most pugnacious members of Democrats, like Reps Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) And Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), Both of whom were primarily responsible for the impeachment. Other GOP panelists can draw on Jordan’s impeachment hearing experience.

Armstrong, who voted to certify Biden’s victory, is trained as a lawyer. He, too, was involved in the first impeachment inquiry into Trump’s Ukraine contacts. Davis, for his part, is a strong advocate for reform of the Capitol Police in the wake of the riot.

Finally, Nehls, a former sheriff, was among the handful of House Republicans who remained behind when the House chamber was evacuated on January 6. He also offered his support to the Capitol Police who drew their weapons at the rioters seeking to break into the bedroom floor. during the assault.

Even some Republicans who voted to impeach Trump say they are happy with the choices.

“I am delighted to see people who have not only demonstrated serious behavior, but also those who have an excellent knowledge of the subject,” said first year rep Peter Meijer (R-Mich.), Who has pointed out Davis, Nehls, Armstrong and Banks. “I think it’s a very complete group.

But while Democrats have largely avoided contradicting Pelosi or questioning whether she should veto McCarthy’s choices, some progressives have voiced strong criticism.

“Kevin McCarthy decided he wanted to be the driver of the clown car, and he not only takes that responsibility seriously, but none of the responsibilities surrounding it. [Jan. 6] seriously. [P]People died here on these steps, ”said Progressive Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.) as she walked up the eastern front of the Capitol.

“They are dead. And he wants to make a joke of it,” she added. “So frankly, he should just return his pin.”

Heather Caygle contributed to this report.

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