House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has made his selection of five Republicans to join the select committee investigating January 6, ensuring that Republicans will have input in the investigation run by Democrats.
Republican Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Rodney Davis of Illinois, Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota and freshman Troy Nehls of Texas have been selected by McCarthy, the minority leader confirmed to CNN. The group of House Republicans who were named to the select committee huddled in McCarthy’s office for a meeting on Monday evening.
When asked how he arrived at his selections, McCarthy said he carefully chose a mix of members who represent a wide swath of views inside the House GOP conference and can each bring a different area of expertise to the table because of their past jobs or current committee assignments.
“You’ve got a mix from the entire conference, from people who objected, people who didn’t object. … You’ve got people who authored the commission,” McCarthy told reporters. “So, you’ve got a microcosm of the conference.”
Some Republicans had called for McCarthy to boycott the committee all together, arguing that appointing GOP members would give more credibility to an investigation that they hope to paint as partisan.
But ultimately, McCarthy felt like it was important to have their side represented and “make sure you get the best people on the committee.”
Of the Republicans McCarthy has put forth for the committee, Banks, Jordan and Nehls were among the 139 House Republicans who voted to overturn the 2020 presidential results in Arizona and Pennsylvania. Davis and Armstrong voted to certify the presidential election.
Banks and Jordan were also part of the group of Republicans to sign onto the Texas lawsuit that sought to invalidate the ballots of millions of voters in four battleground states, but was swiftly blocked by the Supreme Court. McCarthy and Jordan could be called as witnesses as the investigation into the insurrection unfolds.
Jordan is perhaps the most well-known of the five, given his history of clashing with Democrats at high-profile hearings on Capitol Hill. The Ohio Republican was one of then-President Donald Trump’s chief defenders during his first impeachment and is a close McCarthy ally.
Davis is the top Republican on the House Administration Committee, which oversees the day-to-day operations of the Capitol, and voted for a bipartisan commission to investigate January 6 that ended up being blocked by Senate Republicans. Armstrong is a former prosecutor and state party chair.
When asked by CNN what Republicans want to accomplish on the select committee, Jordan attacked Democrats: “You know what this is about. This is about going after President Trump. The Democrats don’t want to talk about anything else.”
Banks was selected to be the ranking Republican on the committee and is also the head of the Republican Study Committee, the largest conservative caucus in the House.
In a statement, Banks confirmed that he had accepted McCarthy’s appointment, but outlined his concerns with the scope of the committee, framing it as an effort by Democrats “to malign conservatives and to justify the Left’s authoritarian agenda.”
“I have accepted Leader McCarthy’s appointment to this committee because we need leaders who will force the Democrats and the media to answer questions so far ignored. Among them, why was the Capitol unprepared and vulnerable to attack on January 6?” Banks asked.
He added, “I 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.”
Nehls, a former sheriff and military officer who tried to block rioters from breaching the House floor using a sign as a makeshift weapon, told CNN that he believes his former experience is why McCarthy chose him for the committee.
“I’ve been a law enforcement officer 30 years as a sheriff for eight years so I just think it’s, you know, maybe he looked at those skill sets,” Nehls said on why he was chosen. “It’s an honor and a privilege to be able to serve at the leader’s request and I’m going to the best job I can.”
Under the House’s resolution, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appointed eight members to the commission and McCarthy has five slots “in consultation” with Pelosi – meaning the House speaker could ultimately veto his selections.
Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, who serves as chair of the committee, told CNN after the announcement that although it is up to Pelosi whether McCarthy’s selections are finalized, “as far as I’m concerned, I’ll go with it.”
“Would have been nice if a female or two had been put on by Republicans, but, unfortunately not,” he added, highlighting the all-male picks by McCarthy.
Thompson brushed aside concerns about the selection of Jordan and promised no matter what he will work with all members chosen on the final committee.
“Well, the question is, I am the committee chairman, and I hope he can work with me?”
Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin, one of Pelosi’s picks to serve on the committee reacted to McCarthy’s selections by telling CNN, “We trust all of the Members will be focused on how the violent assault on Congress and the counting of electors was organized and financed and why these events came to pass. It’s a matter of democratic survival and national security.”
The select committee is slated to have its first hearing next week. Committee members will hear from Capitol Police officers Harry Dunn and Aquilino Gonell as well as Metropolitan Police Department officers Michael Fanone and Daniel Hodges about their experiences on January 6.
The five Republicans chosen by McCarthy are not the only GOP members of the committee. Pelosi appointed Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming among her eight choices to serve on the panel.
Pelosi’s office told CNN on Monday evening they had just learned of the names and that Pelosi is reviewing the picks.
This story has been updated with additional developments Monday.
CNN’s Lauren Fox, Ryan Nobles and Manu Raju contributed to this report.