The House is slated to vote on Wednesday to establish the select committee on Jan. 6.
The legislation does not specify who would chair the committee, leaving that decision to Pelosi. Congressional Black Caucus members have floated House Homeland Security Committee Chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) for the role, and he’s signaled he wants the position. Thompson told POLITICO on Monday evening he would take things “step by step.”
Some Democrats fear Republicans could appoint hardline members like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) to the panel who could inflame tensions about the attack.
“If you’re going to do it, I can’t think of anybody better than somebody like a Marjorie Taylor Greene,” said Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs, who made it clear he opposes the committee and would not participate himself. “She doesn’t have a committee; she could put a lot of time and effort into it.”
Several Democratic sources said they expected Pelosi to appoint a Republican who has already pushed vocally for a meaningful investigation into the Jan. 6 insurrection. More than three dozen Republicans supported an independent, bipartisan commission on the floor earlier this month, though it was blocked in the Senate.
Pelosi has not indicated who she might pick, but Democrats quickly speculated that she could appoint a Republican outspoken not only about the failure to create an independent commission, but also the former president’s role in the insurrection — a list topped by Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) or Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.).
Kinzinger spokesperson Maura Gillespie said he wanted a bipartisan approach to investigating the insurrection and did not want the investigation to “turn political,” but given the GOP filibuster of the commission bill, “we need answers.”
“Whether Congressman Kinzinger serves on the Select Committee is up to Speaker Pelosi,” Gillespie said.
Cheney declined to comment when asked by reporters but said she did not talk to Pelosi.
Another well-liked House Republican who helped shepherd the bipartisan commission bill only to be spurned by GOP leadership, New York Rep. John Katko, said in a statement he opposed the commission as a “turbo-charged partisan exercise” and would have “a hard time envisioning a scenario where I would participate, if asked.”
The committee is charged with investigating the insurrection and evaluating the lessons learned from the security failures on Jan. 6, the same focus as the stalled bipartisan commission. It will also have the power to issue subpoenas.
“Senate Republicans did Mitch McConnell a ‘personal favor’ rather than their patriotic duty and voted against the bipartisan commission negotiated by Democrats and Republicans,” Pelosi said in a statement, referring to the Senate GOP leader. “But Democrats are determined to find the truth.”
The select committee does not have a deadline for its final report on the insurrection, though it could provide “interim reports” on its findings. The bipartisan commission would have presented its final report by the end of the year.