The much-anticipated House investigation into the January attack on the US Capitol begins on Tuesday, with Republicans set to boycott proceedings in an attempt to undermine any findings.
A special committee established by the Democratic House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, will convene to investigate the circumstances surrounding the deadly insurrection in Washington DC, when hundreds of Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to interrupt the certification of Joe Biden as president.
The committee, which will feature just two Republicans after the GOP leadership refused to participate, will hear this week from police officers who battled rioters during the attack.
The investigation into the 6 January attack has become a fiercely partisan issue in Washington. The House voted in May for an independent investigation that would have been evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, but the Senate blocked the move.
That left Pelosi to create a select committee to conduct the investigation. Kevin McCarthy, the Republican House minority leader, picked five Republicans to sit on the committee, but Pelosi rejected Jim Jordan and Jim Banks’ nominations, prompting McCarthy to withdraw all five nominees. Both Jordan and Banks are staunch Trump allies who deny his role in the attack and objected to the certification of Biden’s win.
Liz Cheney, a Republican congresswoman from Wyoming, had already been named to the panel by Pelosi, and on Sunday Pelosi went around McCarthy again to appoint Representative Adam Kinzinger, who like Cheney is a critic of Trump, to the committee.
Pelosi said Kinzinger “and other Republicans have expressed an interest to serve on the select committee. And I wanted to appoint three of them that Leader McCarthy suggested. But he withdrew their names. The two that I would not appoint are people who would jeopardise the integrity of the investigation, and there’s no way I would tolerate their antics as we seek the truth.”
Kinzinger and Cheney were among the 10 House Republicans who voted for Trump’s second impeachment, and the pair were the only Republicans who voted to form the special committee. Both have cited Trump’s false claims of election fraud as a factor in the insurrection.
“For months, lies and conspiracy theories have been spread, threatening our self-governance,” Kinzinger said on Sunday.
“For months, I have said that the American people deserve transparency and truth on how and why thousands showed up to attack our democracy. I will work diligently to ensure we get to the truth and hold those responsible for the attack fully accountable.”
Democrat Bennie Thompson will chair the committee, which on Tuesday will hear from four police officers who were on duty on 6 January. They are expected to testify about their experiences that day, including the physical and verbal abuse they were subjected to as hundreds of people swarmed the Capitol.
“We have to get it right,” Thompson said on Monday. He said if the committee could find ways to prevent anything like it from happening again, “then I would have made what I think is the most valuable contribution to this great democracy”.
Last week a Florida man became the first person to be sentenced to prison for his role in the January attack. More than 570 people have been charged with taking part in the riot, during and after which seven people died.