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Pelosi introduces bill to establish select committee to probe January 6 assault on Capitol

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced legislation to establish a select committee to investigate the January 6 attack on the Capitol. Under the bill, she would appoint eight members of the committee and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy would appoint five.

An aide to the House speaker said that she "is seriously considering including a Republican among her eight appointments." If Pelosi were to appoint a Republican, the partisan division of the committee would instead be seven Democrats and six Republicans.

A vote on the bill is slated to be held on Wednesday. So far, it appears that the select committee has less bipartisan support than the bipartisan commission that was originally proposed — 35 House Republicans voted in favor of a commission, but the Republicans in the Senate blocked it. That independent panel, modeled after the 9/11 commission, would have had an equal partisan balance, and would not have consisted of any elected officials.

Pelosi may essentially have veto power over McCarthy's choices, as McCarthy will be able to make appointments in consultation with the speaker. So if McCarthy wanted to appoint a member who had downplayed January 6, or voted to overturn the Electoral College results, she could reject his choice.

Minority Whip Steve Scalise told reporters that Pelosi "should be working with us" in naming members to a select committee. GOP Congressman Tom Cole told reporters that the select committee is "pretty fundamentally flawed."

"I think it's overtly political. It's really not necessary," Cole said.

But Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, the chair of the House Democratic Caucus, argued Tuesday morning that Democrats had already tried to compromise with Republicans in the creation of a commission — and that those overtures had been rejected.

"They wanted subpoena power. We gave them joint subpoena power in the Commission. They wanted this to wrap up before the end of the year. Speaker Pelosi agreed that the January 6 commissioners would complete its work by the end of the year. Kevin McCarthy refused to take yes for an answer, and now he's got a select committee," Jeffries said.

Two House Republicans who voted to impeach President Trump said they would vote "no" on the resolution to establish a select committee on the events of January 6, including Congressman John Katko, who helped negotiate the bill to create the independent commission.

Katko said he was "very disappointed" and opined that it would not be a balanced committee. He compared it to the Benghazi select committee, which was created by House Republicans to probe the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, "which got nowhere," Katko said.

Congresswoman Jaime Herrera-Beutler, who also voted to impeach Mr. Trump, said she objected to the bill in part because it would be composed of sitting members of Congress.

"I want something the American people can believe and find credible," said Congresswoman Jaime Herrera-Beutler. "The only way to do that I believe is a 9/11 style commission, which I voted for." 

Congressman Peter Meijer, another Republican member who voted for impeachment, said he still has to review the resolution's text, but he fears this committee would not be viewed as "accepted and credible," in part because of the departure from the even 50-50 partisan split of the 9/11 Commission. When asked if he'd serve on a January 6 select committee if asked by Pelosi, he responded, "I honestly don't know."

Congressman Adam Kinzinger, who also supported the formation of a January 6 commission and has been a vocal critic of Mr. Trump, indicated that he'd be open to serving on a select committee.

"The Congressman has said that he thinks a bipartisan approach is required to have a full accounting of what happened and who played a part in the insurrection at the Capitol Complex on January 6. He does not want an investigation to turn political; he just wants to get to the truth and for the American people to have full transparency. That being said, our party blocked that first opportunity and now we need answers," a spokesperson for Kinzinger said in a statement. The spokesperson added, "Whether Congressman Kinzinger serves on the Select Committee is up to Speaker Pelosi."

The legislation setting up the select committee does not include specific timeline for it to release its findings. Pelosi said last week that "the timetable will be as long as it takes." The bipartisan commission, however, would have been required to submit its findings by the end of the year.

Nikole Killion contributed to this report.

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