A year later, some Republicans seconded to boycott the January 6 panel.


“Would that have made for an entirely different debate? Exactly.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) attends the National Police Week annual bicycle ride on May 12, 2022 at the National Mall in Washington. Tom Brenner/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Four hearings over the past few weeks by the House committee investigating the January 6 attack, with clear, unconvincing statements about President Donald Trump’s attempt to undermine the peaceful transfer of power, have led some pro-Trump Republicans to voice their concerns. Criticism left. Expressed regret over the decision taken almost a year ago.

California Representative Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, chose to withdraw all of his nominees for the committee last summer — amid a dispute with Speaker Nancy Pelosi. his rejection His first two choices – a turn that left the nine-member investigative committee without a single Trump ally.

Most privately, Republicans loyal to Trump have complained for months that they have no knowledge of the inner workings of the committee as it has issued dozens of subpoenas and conducted interviews behind closed doors with hundreds of witnesses.

But the public display of what they learned this month — including damaging evidence against Trump and his allies — left some Republicans more vocally wishing Trump had stronger defenders on the panel that were dug up by its investigators. Tried to counter the evidence.

“Would this have made for a completely different debate? Exactly,” said Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla. “I must have saved the hell from him.”

Among the second guessers, McCarthy’s choice has been Trump.

“Unfortunately, a bad decision was made,” Trump told conservative radio host Wayne Allin Root this week. “Not being represented on that committee was a bad decision. It was a very stupid decision.”

The committee appointed more than a dozen former federal prosecutors to investigate the actions of Trump and his aides in the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.

With former television producers on staff, the committee has constructed a narrative told in chapters about the former president’s attempts to cling to power.

As it has done so, the committee has not struggled to deliver speeches from the stage about Trump’s conservative policy achievements. There has been no cross-examination of the witnesses on the panel. The hearing is not to be derailed with criticism of President Joe Biden. The investigation is not being taken away from the former president. Ultimately, Trump has no defense.

The committee presented considerable evidence this month about Trump’s role, explaining how the former president pressured Vice President Mike Pence to come up with a plan to unilaterally reverse his election defeat even as he was told that it was illegal.

On Tuesday, the panel linked Trump directly to plans to advance a fake slate of pro-Trump voters and presented fresh details about the former president. Tried to bully, Kajol and bluff His way of invalidating his 2020 defeat in states across the country.

The committee has used prominent Republicans as witnesses to build its case, leaving Trump’s aides with a difficult task: How are they defending them — even from the outside. — when the evidence against him comes from Republican lawyers, widely respected conservative judges, his campaign advisers, and even his own daughter?

The hearing’s effectiveness in placing Trump at the center of the effort to reverse the election results has attracted the attention of, among others, Trump. He has made it clear this week that he wants more Republicans to defend him, and is unhappy as being heard on national television without pro-Trump voices.

There are only two Republicans on the committee who have pitted vehemently against Trump: Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Representative Adam Kizinger of Illinois. He was appointed by Pelosi, not McCarthy.

McCarthy thought in July that it was politically better to sideline the committee than to appoint members of his own party acceptable to Pelosi. He has said that he had to take a stand after two of his top picks for the panel were rejected: Reps. Jim Banks of Indiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio.

Pelosi said could not allow the pair to participate, the investigation was cut based on his actions and comments he made around the riots. (Jordan was later issued a subpoena by the committee because of his close dealings with Trump.) The speaker’s decision directly led to McCarthy announcing that Republicans would boycott the panel.

“When Pelosi wrongly didn’t allow them, we should have chosen other people,” Trump said. interview with punchbol news, “We have a lot of good people in the Republican Party.”

Trump has spoken openly about the make-up of the panel, according to a person familiar with his remarks. The person said some members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus have also complained privately about the lack of pro-Trump Republicans on the panel.

Those close to McCarthy argue that the Democrats controlling the committee would not have allowed their nominees as much power or influence over the work of the panel.

Hearings will resume Thursday with a session devoted to Trump’s effort to install a loyalist at the top of the Justice Department to meet his demands for more investigation into unfounded claims of election fraud.

The panel is planning at least two more hearings for July, according to its president, Representative Benny Thompson, D-Miss. Those hearings detail how mobs of violent extremists stormed the Capitol and how Trump did nothing to stop the violence for more than three hours.

When asked about the former president’s comments about the January 6 committee, McCarthy instead talked about inflation and gas prices.

“They focused on an issue that the public has not focused on,” he said of the committee. McCarthy said he spoke with Trump this week.

One of the Republicans whose nomination McCarthy withdrew from the committee, Rep. Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota, was a defense attorney before being elected to Congress.

Pelosi approved Armstrong to serve on the panel along with Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois and Rep. Troy Nehls of Texas.

Armstrong said he had watched the hearing as the committee presented evidence “in a choreographed, well-written manner”.

If he had been allowed to serve on the committee, he would have tried to run the investigation and its questions into security failures at the Capitol in public hearings, he said, echoing a line of criticism that many Republicans have criticized Pelosi for. Tried to direct.

“It will be scripted very little. We will ask questions,” Armstrong said. “There are real questions to answer. My heart goes out to the law enforcement officers. They needed more people out there.”

Still, he said, he stands by the decision made by McCarthy, who is considered the prime candidate to become speaker if Republicans win control of the House in the midterm elections in November.

“I was in the room when we made this decision, and I still think it was the right decision,” he said, arguing that House Republicans had to take a stand after Pelosi removed Jordan and Banks. . “I think it was the only option.”

Trump’s comments sparked much discussion among House Republicans about whether it was the right decision.

“Everyone has a different opinion on that,” said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla. “Personally, I think the leader made the right call. The moment the speaker decides who the Republican members are, it goes against its legitimacy.

Rep. Daniel Crenshaw, R-Texas, said the panel would love to see opposing views exchanged. “Let the public see how this debate goes,” he said. “Of course, it would have been better.”

But rape. Fred Upton, R-Mich., who voted to impeach Trump for inciting the attack on the Capitol and is retiring from Congress, said he saw nothing but hypocrisy and stupidity in Trump’s complaints. He said Trump made a strategic error of opposing a bipartisan commission to investigate the attack on the Capitol, which involved no sitting lawmaker.

That commission will have to finish its work last year. Instead, Trump’s miscalculations led to the creation of a House January 6 committee, which is continuing to investigate him, Upton said.

“Trump opposes the bipartisan commission,” Upton said. “Once again, he is rewriting history.”

This article is originally from . appeared in new York Times,

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