Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney said that it was House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s own fault that the House select committee formed to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol had no Republican members appointed by him.

The comment from Cheney, who is the vice chairwoman of the committee and one of two Republicans on the panel appointed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, appeared to be a response to arguments from Republicans that the committee is a Democratic operation meant to target political opponents.

“Let me remind you all: Republican Leader McCarthy made the conscious choice to withdraw entirely from this committee,” Cheney said in a House Rules Committee meeting on Thursday. The panel, chaired by Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, on Wednesday recommended that the House hold former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark in contempt of Congress.

“He could have appointed multiple Republicans to our committee. But he calculated, after objecting to the establishment of a bipartisan commission, that it would be better not to participate at all. Following that, Chairman Thompson decided that this will be a nonpartisan investigation, and that is how we are proceeding,” Cheney said.


Cheney also took aim at the Republicans who voted against creating a bipartisan, bicameral commission to investigate the attack, accusing them of withdrawing support for such an investigation “as the political winds changed.”

The two Republicans who do sit on the committee, Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, were appointed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rather than McCarthy. The resolution to create the committee allowed McCarthy to “recommend” five members to sit on the committee, but allowed Pelosi to have the final say on his picks.

Pelosi, in a never-before-seen move, blocked Republican Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana (who was set to be the ranking member) and Jim Jordan of Ohio from sitting on the committee. That prompted McCarthy to pull his other three appointments in protest unless all five were seated, and he declined to pick any other members to replace Banks and Jordan.

As a result, the House Republican Conference has no access to materials that the committee receives from government agencies or the ability to counter or object to majority questioning in deposition interviews.

The dynamic has led Banks to accuse the committee of intentionally deceiving witnesses. The committee has told witnesses that Republican or bipartisan staff will be present for their interviews, a move that critics say constitutes misrepresentation since there are no minority-appointed members and is potentially in violation of House rules to have equal time in deposition questioning for each party.


Cheney also told the Rules Committee that there would be multiple weeks of public hearings next year.

“We are making rapid progress. We anticipate next year, we will be conducting multiple weeks of public hearings, setting out for the American people in vivid color exactly what happened every minute of the day on Jan. 6 here at the Capitol and at the White House, and what led to that violent attack,” Cheney said.