WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is acting swiftly to launch a new investigation of the violent Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, choosing a diverse slate of eight lawmakers — one from the opposing party — to serve on a select committee with subpoena power.
Republicans have the chance to recommend five additional members, but it's unclear whether they will do so. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who could be called to testify about a conversation with former President Donald Trump as the attack unfolded, has not committed to any appointments.
All but two Republicans voted against creating the committee in a vote Wednesday. Pelosi made one of the two Republicans — Liz Cheney of Wyoming, an unsparing critic of Trump — one of her appointments to the panel.
A look at eight lawmakers who have been appointed to the committee so far:
REP. BENNIE THOMPSON, D-MISS.
Thompson is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and will be leading the Jan. 6 select committee. Serving his 14th full term in office, he is the only Democratic member of Mississippi's congressional delegation. He was a teacher before entering local politics, serving as a mayor and country supervisor, which served as a springboard to the House. He says the committee will focus on delivering a “definitive accounting of the attack — an undertaking so vital to guarding against future attacks."
REP. ZOE LOFGREN, D-CALIF.
Lofgren is chairwoman of the Committee on House Administration, which has oversight of the U.S. Capitol Police. She has been a member of the House since 1995 and is an immigration attorney and immigration law professor who participated in the impeachment process for three presidents — Trump, Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon, the latter as a congressional staffer. She said making the Capitol safer is not a substitute for what happened on Jan. 6th: She said: “Who paid for it? How was it organized? We need to find that out to keep the country safe."
REP. ADAM SCHIFF, D-CALIF.
Schiff is chairman of the House Intelligence committee and best known as the leader and public face of Trump's first impeachment for his actions involving Ukraine. He has served in the House for two decades and prior to entering Congress served as an assistant U.S. attorney in Los Angeles and as a state senator. He expressed dismay on Twitter that only two House Republicans voted for the select committee: “An attack on the Capitol. The Article I branch of our government. Our temple of democracy. If Republicans won’t support that, what will they support? Only what Trump wants.”
REP. LIZ CHENEY, R-WYO.
The daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney is so far the lone Republican on the new committee. She is one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump over the insurrection at the Capitol, saying he “lit the flame” that ignited the attack. She has only amplified her criticism of Trump since then, angering colleagues who voted to remove her from a leadership position. She took time to visit law enforcement officers and families on Wednesday in the House galleries while lawmakers debated whether to form the committee. She says what happened on Jan. 6. can never be allowed to happen again. “Those who are responsible for the attack need to be held accountable and this select committee will fulfill that responsibility in a professional, expeditious, and non-partisan manner."
REP. JAMIE RASKIN, D-MD.
Raskin is serving his third term representing a district adjacent to Washington. He served as a professor of constitutional law at American University’s Washington College of Law for more than 25 years and was the lead prosecution lawyer in Trump's second impeachment trial. In a memorable presentation, he recalled for senators how he was at the Capitol on Jan. 6 with his daughter and son-in-law when Trump supporters broke into the building. He fought back tears as he told senators how he had promised his daughter her next trip would be better and she replied: “Dad, I don’t want to come back to the Capitol." The siege of the Capitol came just days after Raskin's 25-year-old son, Tommy, took his own life.
REP. ELAINE LURIA, D-VA.
Luria has only been in Congress since 2019, but held many weighty responsibilities before then, serving two decades in the Navy and retiring at the rank of commander. She served at sea on six ships, deployed to the Middle East and culminated her career by commanding a combat-ready unit of 400 sailors. She represents a swing district with a large military and veterans population along the Virginia coast.
REP. PETE AGUILAR, D-CALIF.
Aguilar is serving his fourth term in the House and now holds the No. 6 position in House Democratic leadership. He is a former mayor who now serves on the House Administration and Appropriations committees. “Everyone touched by Jan. 6 deserves to find the truth of what transpired, what led up to it, and how we can protect our democracy moving forward,” Aguilar said Thursday.
REP. STEPHANIE MURPHY, D-FLA.
Murphy is a former national security specialist at the Defense Department now serving her third term in Congress. She worked on a wide range of security issues: counterterrorism, foreign military relations, strategic planning for the department and more. She is the first Vietnamese-American woman elected to Congress. After her appointment to the select committee, she recalled that her family fled Vietnam when she was a baby. “We were rescued by the U.S. Navy and given refuge in America," she said. “I love this country beyond words." She added: "To see the citadel of American democracy assaulted is a reminder that our democracy is not self-sustaining. It needs to be preserved and protected by American patriots of every political stripe.”