Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) on Wednesday ripped House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) after she rejected his nomination to the special congressional panel investigating the Capitol riot on January 6.
“It really made me angry. I served my country in Afghanistan and she is saying that I’m not up to playing a serious role on this Jan. 6 committee,” Banks told the New York Post on Wednesday.
“But it just goes to show all along this was never a serious effort on their part, it’s all a political witch hunt. They want to make this all about Donald Trump, dragging Republican members of Congress through the mud and attacking 75 million people that voted for Donald Trump,” Banks told the outlet.
On Wednesday, Pelosi rejected two of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) proposed Republican members for the committee, Banks and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH).
“With respect for the integrity of the investigation, with an insistence on the truth and with concern about statements made and actions taken by these members, I must reject the recommendations of Representatives Banks and Jordan,” Pelosi said.
In response, McCarthy said he would pull all five of his Republican picks for the select committee unless Pelosi reversed course and seats all five. The minority leader also announced that the GOP will conduct its own investigation into the events of January 6, when a mob broke through security and marauded through the U.S. Capitol.
“This represents an egregious abuse of power and will irreparably damage this institution,” McCarthy said in a statement. “Denying the voices of members who have served in the military and law enforcement, as well as leaders of standing committees, has made it undeniable that this panel has lost all legitimacy and credibility and shows the Speaker is more interested in playing politics than seeking the truth.”
Earlier this month, Pelosi announced eight picks for the committee including one Republican, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), one of former President Trump’s most vocal critics. McCarthy said at the time that it would be “unprecedented” for Cheney to keep her committee assignments after her decision to accept Pelosi’s nomination.
Banks said he had started “digging into the real questions that nobody’s asked,” adding, “Democrats don’t want to answer to on why the Capitol was vulnerable on January 6 when we had real intelligence three weeks before and we didn’t do anything to prepare for it.”
The Indiana Republican suggested that Democrats may be avoiding investigating aspects of the January 6 violence because Pelosi may have been involved in the costly delay of the deployment of the National Guard, a claim Pelosi’s office has strongly denied.
“Democrats don’t want to talk about it because at the end of the day, the higher up the food chain you get, the closer to Nancy Pelosi you get, and that spooked Nancy Pelosi and that’s why she rejected Jim Jordan and me,” Banks told the Post.
“We’re not giving up. These are questions that deserve answers and we’re still members of Congress who can demand answers to serious questions that the Democrats, so far, have not given any attention to.”