On the day before a House committee was set to open its investigation of the Jan. 6 Capitol assault, House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy kept up his effort to dismiss the probe and attack the Republicans who’ve agreed to serve with Democrats.
ABC News SpecialThe detailed timeline of events surrounding the deadly siege of the U.S. Capitol and violence in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021.Stream On Hulu
When asked on Monday if he’ll punish the two Republican members — Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois — McCarthy said “we’ll see,” amid speculation their fellow Republicans might try to remove them from House committee assignments for accepting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s invitation.
Speaking with reporters at a bipartisan White House even celebrating the Americans with Disabilities Act, McCarthy called them “Pelosi Republicans.”
“Couldn’t tell you,” he said, when asked the last time he spoke to Cheney and Kinzinger.
When asked for his take on the first witnesses — law enforcement officers who defended the Capitol against the pro-Trump mob — McCarthy replied, “I don’t know.”
Then Monday evening, House Republicans attempted to pass a privileged resolution on the floor to condemn Pelosi for refusing to seat all of McCarthy’s Republican lawmakers on the committee. It also urged Pelosi to appoint those she’d refused: Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jim Banks of Indiana. The House quickly voted 218-197 to table the surprise resolution, effectively killing it.
Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesHouse Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy speaks to reporters before a ceremony to mark the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the Rose Garden of the White House on July 26, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Earlier Monday on Capitol Hill, Cheney shot back at McCarthy.
“We’ve got very serious business here. We have important work to do. And I think that’s pretty childish,” she told reporters.
MORE: Pelosi confident in bipartisan Jan. 6 committee, plans to add more Republicans
Kinzinger on Monday slammed other Republicans in response to McCarthy’s dig.
“If the conference decides, or if Kevin decides they want to punish Liz Cheney and I for getting into the bottom and telling the truth, I think that probably says more about them than it does for us,” he said.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP, FILERep. Liz Cheney speaks to reporters in Washington, May 12, 2021.
Kinzinger added his preference was the independent commission negotiated and then blocked by GOP leaders.
“It’s become obvious that there are some that just simply don’t want answers, and that to me is unacceptable,” he told reporters.
Earlier Monday, committee members checked out the Cannon Office Building hearing room ahead of Tuesday’s start at 9:30 a.m.
MORE: Security, intelligence failures led to Jan. 6 insurrection: Bipartisan Senate report
Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Cheney will each deliver opening statements in Tuesday’s hearing before the police officers testify, according to a congressional aide. The committee will hear from Capitol Police officers Harry Dunn and Aquilino Gonell and Michael Fanone and Daniel Hodges of the Metropolitan Police Department.
Normally, the ranking member — or top Republican — would be given an opportunity to make opening remarks after the committee chair speaks. But Republican leaders have pulled their members from the panel, leaving Cheney and Kinzinger as the only GOP members.
Ting Shen/Reuters, FILERepresentative Adam Kinzinger speaks during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., March 10, 2021.
Cheney and Kinzinger are the only two House Republicans who voted to form a select committee after Senate Republicans killed a proposal for a bipartisan, independent commission. Like Cheney, Kinzinger is among the 10 Republicans to vote to impeach Trump for “incitement of insurrection.”
MORE: Liz Cheney positioned as linchpin for credibility of Jan. 6 findings: The Note
Tuesday’s hearing is expected to go two to three hours and will feature video elements, according to an aide.
McCarthy had vowed that his GOP appointments wouldn’t participate after Pelosi rejected Banks and Jordan, citing statements made and actions taken, she said, would threaten the credibility of the committee.
Alex Wong/Getty ImagesSpeaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi speaks, as (L-R) Rep. Elaine Luria, Rep. Pete Aguilar, Rep. Stephanie Murphy, Rep. Jamie Raskin, Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Zoe Lofgren and Rep. Bennie Thompson, listen during a weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol, July 1, 2021, in Washington, DC.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a briefing Monday that President Joe Biden will be “kept abreast” of Tuesday’s committee hearing.
“In his view, in our view, tomorrow’s hearing will be an opportunity to hear firsthand from the men and women in the Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department who bravely protected our Capitol on that day. His goal is the same goal that Speaker Pelosi has, which is to get to the bottom of what happened and prevent it from happening in the future, and he trusts her leadership to do exactly that,” she said.
Dunn, one of the police officers who is scheduled to testify Tuesday, tweeted out Monday asking for “good vibes.”
Mark Zaid, the whistleblower attorney who is also representing Dunn, late last week posted this Twitter thread flagging that after Fox News host Tucker Carlson attacked Dunn on his show as an “angry left-wing political activist” he received “numerous vile/racist” messages, with some citing Carlson’s comments.
Fanone, an officer with the Metropolitan Police Department who was brutally attacked by rioters on Jan. 6, video shows, told ABC News Congressional Correspondent Rachel Scott that he plans to testify in uniform Tuesday and said he won’t let politics hinder his appearance.
“I don’t get care what the vehicle is — as long as the truth comes out,” he said, when asked about Republicans who are throwing cold water on the committee. Fanone was at the Capitol Monday to prepare for the hearing.
Rob Massey for ABC NewsMetropolitan Police Department Narcotics officer Michael Fanone speaks with ABC News’ Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas about his experience at the U.S. Capitol when a pro-trump mob attempted to get in.
He added that he supports any investigation that is looking for a “factual account” of what happened that day.
Back in May, Fanone and Dunn escorted the family of fallen Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick door-to-door on Capitol Hill pleading with Republicans for an independent commission.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., a member of the panel and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who briefed reporters ahead of the hearing, said there will be a mix of old and new video footage shown Tuesday.
Asked why they’re starting with these witnesses, Schiff said they can “explain what took place and what we’re seeing in these clips and also put to rest some of the revisionist history, the effort to whitewash what took place and understand keenly the importance of getting to the truth about what led up to that insurrection and what happened thereafter.”
“We really want to hear from the officers and the videos are designed to have them explain what they saw and what they confronted,” he said.
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