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Pelosi Names Cheney to House Committee Investigating Capitol Riot

Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney was the House speaker’s sole Republican pick to sit on a select committee looking into the Jan. 6 insurrectionist attack on the U.S. Capitol.

WASHINGTON (CN) — Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced her selections Thursday for a select committee tasked with investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol complex, and the list includes one Republican: Liz Cheney, who was removed from her GOP leadership position amid criticism of Donald Trump and his allies.

The selections come a day after the House passed a resolution enabling the creation of the selection committee with a 222-190 vote along party lines. 

“It’s really important for your all to know what our purpose is for this,” Pelosi said at a press conference early Thursday, before paraphrasing a recent statement from FBI Director Christopher Wray: "There were more deaths from domestic terrorism than from global terrorism in our country in the previous year."

The select committee will be comprised of 13 lawmakers. The resolution allows Pelosi to choose eight members on her own and five members in consultation with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.  

McCarthy, a California Republican, threatened to strip any Republicans chosen by Pelosi of their committee assignments during a meeting with his caucus on Wednesday. 

Pelosi nominated seven Democrats: Representatives Zoe Lofgren, Adam Schiff and Pete Aguilar of California, Stephanie Murphy of Florida, Jamie Raskin of Maryland, Elaine Luria of Virginia, and Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, who’ll serve as chair of the committee. 

The speaker also nominated Republican Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who’s become increasingly isolated from her GOP colleagues for criticizing former President Trump after the Capitol attack. She was removed from her leadership position as chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, the party’s third highest position, in May and replaced by a Trump loyalist, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik of New York.

When asked whether she was concerned about Cheney losing committee assignments due to her involvement with the select committee, Pelosi replied, “That’s a matter for the Republican caucus.” 

"It’s not political so I’m not getting involved in what goes on in the Republican caucus,” she said. 

Less than an hour later, McCarthy held his own press conference primarily to express his support for Israel’s Iron Dome rocket defense system and offer condolences for the lives lost in a condominium collapse in South Florida. 

But reporters quickly turned the subject to his earlier threat over the Jan. 6 committee.

“I’m not making any threats about committee assignments, but you know how Congress works,” he said when asked about Pelosi's selection of Cheney. “You get elected by your district, and you get your committees from your conference.” 

McCarthy went on to express confusion as to why Cheney, the daughter of former Republican Vice President Dick Cheney, would join the committee at all.

“I was shocked that she would accept something from Speaker Pelosi,” he said. “Maybe she’s closer to her than us, I don’t know.” 

During her earlier press conference, Pelosi said she chose Thompson to oversee the committee because he first proposed the bipartisan bill to create an independent commission to investigate the attack, which passed the House during the last congressional session but stalled in the Senate. “And we thank him for his leadership,” the House speaker said.

Murphy, a Vietnamese immigrant, likened the Jan. 6 attack to unrest in autocratic nations.

“I fled a country where political violence was how political transitions were made,” the Florida Democrat said, “and I’ve never lived a day in this country where I haven’t been proud to live in a democracy, to have the freedoms that this country offers. But I also understand that I have a responsibility to protect our democracy.” 

She went on to state that it “broke [her] heart” to see the type of political violence common in Vietnam and other countries she worked on while at the Department of Defense unfold at the U.S. Capitol building. 

Follow Kaila Philo on Twitter

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