President Nancy Pelosi plans to unilaterally appoint a second anti-Trump Republican, Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois , to the special House committee investigating the January 6 riot on Capitol Hill, according to two officials familiar with the ongoing discussions.
Mr. Kinzinger, who broke with his party to support the investigation into the Jan. 6 assault, made it clear for weeks that he would be ready to serve. But Democrats began to weigh more seriously the possibility of him.named after Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy of California said on Wednesday Republicans would boycott the investigation because Pelosi rejected two of the five members he recommended .
"We'll see," Pelosi said Thursday, when asked about the possibility of bypassing McCarthy to directly appoint additional Republican members. "Some members would like to participate.
Separately, Ms. Pelosi was seriously considering appointing Denver Riggleman, former Republican congressman from Virginia , as the committee's senior advisor, according to officials, who required anonymity to speakfrankly deliberations. Mr. Riggleman is a former Air Force intelligence officer, who emerged from a G.O.P. primary last year determined to try and fight disinformation, like QAnon, to overtake its peer ty.
As the investigation is conducted through a select committee, Pelosi has the final say on its composition, in consultation with the Republican leader. She has already awarded one of the eight seats normally reserved for the majority party to Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, a former Republican leadership member who was ousted for criticizing Donald J. Trump and his party for trying to undermine the 2020 election results. The addition of Mr Kinzinger would make the panel more bipartisan and ensure that at least some Republicans support his work.
Like Ms. Cheney, Mr. Kinzinger has been bluntly in his criticism of Mr. Trump and his own party after 'a host of pro-Trump supporters, encouraged by the president, stormed the Capitol and tried to prevent Congress from finalizing President Biden's victory. He argued that unless the Republicans seriously heed the former president's lies about a stolen election and the dangerous forces it unleashed in the country, they risk undermining American democracy.
Representative Bennie Thompson, the Democrat from Mississippi who will lead the committee, confirmed to CNN Thursday that Mr. Kinzinger was being considered. He said the Illinois Republican and Army veteranAir, 43, would be a "welcome addition ". (A previous version of this article misspelled Mr. Thompson's last name.)
Mr. The Kinzinger spokeswoman did not comment.
Democrats discussed the possibility of adding more Republicans in whom they have confidence to take the work of the committee seriously. But several conceded that Mr Kinzinger was perhaps the only one other than Ms Cheney willing to defend himself against Mr McCarthy, who has suggested in recent weeks that any Republican member who accepts a nomination from Ms Pelosi would lose their seat in d 'other committees.
The latest feud over its membership began this week when Mr. McCarthy recommended the appointment of five Republicans, including two staunch allies of Mr. Trump who supported the attempt to overturn the results of the congressional election onJanuary 6 and equated the riot with protests for racial justice.
Normally the speaker would simply endorse the choices of a minority leader for such a committee. But Ms Pelosi said she couldn't authorize the two Trump followers, Representatives Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jim Banks of Indiana , to serve. Mr McCarthy responded by saying the Republicans would not participate.
On Thursday Ms Pelosi made it clear that she would not change course, citing statements by the two Republicans dismissing the inquiry as a "third round of impeachment" and suggesting that it is the Democrats who should be scrutinized for failing to defend the Capitol properly.
" Nobody says everything should beon the same point of view in committee, ”said Ms. Pelosi. "But when the statements are ridiculous and fall into the realm of " You must be kidding ", there 's no way they can be part of the committee.
Democrats also began locking up professional committee staff on Thursday, turning to senior government investigators. They announced that David B. Buckley, a former C.I.A. inspector general, would lead the staff. Kristin Amerling, a longtime congressional investigator who has scrutinized the Iraq war and the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, will be his deputy; Tim Mulvey, former House and State Department aide, will serve as the committee 's chief spokesperson.
Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.