House Republican leaders launched a preemptive strike ahead of the first select committee hearing into the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, accusing Speaker Nancy Pelosi of trying to cover up facts that could get in the way of her predetermined narrative about the incident.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and his leadership team said that U.S. Capitol Police were put in an impossible position on Jan. 6 because of a failure of leadership in their ranks and that Mrs. Pelosi must be asked whether someone stonewalled efforts to call in the National Guard.
“Why were we ill-prepared for that day and how can we make sure it will never happen again?” Mr. McCarthy said Tuesday at a press conference outside the Capitol.
“But unfortunately, Speaker Pelosi will only [put] people onto the committee that will ask the questions she wants asked,” the California Republican said. “That becomes a failed committee and a failed report — a sham that no one can believe.”
“If you want the true answers, do not be afraid of the questions that will be asked and drive the evidence that will come forward,” Mr. McCarthy said.
The comments sought to cast doubt on the House select committee on the Jan. 6 attack as it prepared to hold its first hearing featuring members of the Capitol and D.C. police.
Mr. McCarthy and his team highlighted a Capitol Police inspector general report released this year that cited failed training and warnings about how former President Donald Trump’s supporters saw the day as their last chance to overturn the results of the presidential election.
House Whip Steve Scalise said Mrs. Pelosi took the unprecedented step of rejecting the minority party’s picks for the select committee when she blocked Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jim Banks of Indiana from serving.
“So as we see these kinds of actions by Speaker Pelosi to cover up the facts that she doesn’t want out there,” Mr. Scalise said. “It has completely debased the legitimacy of this commission because clearly they are not searching for the truth.”
“They are searching to get a narrative out that Speaker Pelosi has already written, and anybody who is going to ask questions that go against that she is going to have them removed so they can’t bring those questions up,” the Louisiana Republican said.
Mr. McCarthy, who could be called to testify before the committee, has said the people who stormed the Capitol should be held accountable.
But he has pushed back against legislative probes. He has said that a congressional investigation should include instances of left-wing political violence and that Mrs. Pelosi’s push for a probe is an orchestrated political hit job.
GOP lawmakers have fallen in line — with the exceptions of Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, both of whom Mrs. Pelosi appointed to the panel.
Ms. Cheney and Mr. Kinzinger now find themselves ostracized by their party.
“The only so-called Republicans on the committee are on the committee to grandstand and attack the former president because of their own personal vendettas,” Rep. Troy Nehls of Texas said Tuesday. “Those Pelosi Republicans are not interested in the truth. They are interested in getting even.”
Mr. Nehls was among the five Republicans Mr. McCarthy appointed to the committee last week shortly after meeting with Mr. Trump in New Jersey.
Mr. McCarthy, however, pulled all of his picks off the committee after Mrs. Pelosi rejected Mr. Jordan and Mr. Banks, a pair of pro-Trump firebrands.
Mr. McCarthy has vowed to lead a separate investigation.