WASHINGTON – A select House Committee looking into the origins of the January 6th Capitol assault gets underway Tuesday, but before committee members ask any questions, their results are mired in controversy.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi has appointed two anti-Trump Republicans to the 13 member panel: Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), once the number three Republican who was stripped of her leadership role earlier this year, and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), a vocal critic of President Trump.
In a statement, Kinzinger wrote, "I'm a Republican dedicated to conservative values, but I swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution ... when duty calls I will always answer."
Critics of Pelosi's decision to hand-pick them are now calling Cheney and Kinzinger "Pelosi Republicans".
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) says the two lawmakers don't represent the GOP. "Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney would lose a Republican primary anywhere in America that you would throw a dart and it would hit the map so it seems bizarre that they are representing in this highly significant venture," he said during an interview with Just the News.
Pelosi's appointments come after she refused to seat two of the five members nominated by House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) – Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), and Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) – two staunch supporters of President Trump.
Calling it an unprecedented move by the majority party, McCarthy pulled all his nominees and said his Republican conference wouldn't participate.
"People said we put them on and then when they act up, you can take them off. I said why should we waste time on something as predictable?" Speaker Pelosi told reporters.
McCarthy says the move taints the committee. "And it shows exactly what I warned back at the beginning of January, that Pelosi would play politics with this," he said angrily.
The panel is chaired by Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) who, like all members, has horrific memories from that day inside America's hallowed halls. "And then we get to the western side and somebody said get on the floor and they said take your pin off because if they break in they're trying to kill members of Congress," remembers Thompson.
Authorities say about 800 people broke through security barriers to enter the Capitol. Some 550 have been charged with crimes, 165 of whom are accused of assaulting or impeding law enforcement.
Four police officers who were there that day will be the first to testify.
The newly installed chief of the US Capitol Police says transparency will be an important part of his department's role going forward. "I'm a big believer in sharing with the public what we're doing, how we're doing it. When something bad happens - bad news doesn't get any better by just sitting on it," Chief Tom Manger told CNN on Friday.
It's unclear whether the panel will uncover anything new about January 6th after a number of law enforcement agencies have looked into what happened now for months, however, it could reveal unexpected information.
Remember, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's private email server was uncovered during a hearing investigating the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya.