Pelosi names Cheney to Capitol riot panel

·2-min read

House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi has named Republican Liz Cheney to a new select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol in Washington.

The move elevates the most unyielding Republican critic of former president Donald Trump to work alongside seven Democrats on the high-profile investigation.

Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House homeland security committee, will lead the panel, which will investigate what went wrong around the Capitol when hundreds of Trump supporters broke into the building.

The rioters beat police, hunted for legislators and interrupted the congressional certification of Democrat Joe Biden's election victory over Trump. Five people died as a result of the violence, including a US Capitol Police officer.

Cheney said she was honoured to serve on the committee and "Congress is obligated to conduct a full investigation of the most serious attack on our Capitol since 1814''.

Her appointment came hours after House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy threatened to strip Republicans of committee assignments if they accepted an appointment from Ms Pelosi to the panel.

He told a closed-door meeting of first-term House Republican members that he, not Pelosi, controls Republicans' committee assignments, according to a top aide.

After the announcement, McCarthy insisted "I'm not making any threats" about committee assignments, but he made clear he was not happy with Cheney, saying he was "shocked that she would accept something from Speaker Pelosi".

Many Republicans remain loyal to Trump and are reluctant to spend time reviewing the attack by his supporters. Party leaders are working to shape the narrative about the committee's work, complaining it will be dominated by Democrats even though the Republicans scuttled an earlier attempt to form a bipartisan commission.

The House voted to form the 13-member panel on Wednesday over the objections of 190 Republicans. Cheney, who was ousted from the Republican leadership this year over her criticism of Trump, was one of only two Republicans who supported forming the committee.

It is unclear when the other five members of the panel will be appointed. The resolution specifies that they will be named after Pelosi consults McCarthy, and Republican leaders have not said whether members will take part.

Pelosi announced she would form the committee after Senate Republicans blocked an independent, bipartisan probe.

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