Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on Thursday that she hasn’t provided the Democrat-dominated House Jan. 6 Committee with any information about her role on the day of and days leading up to the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally, even as a small group of Republicans continue to demand answers from the speaker.
The Jan. 6 Committee was created in a mostly party-line vote, and only two members of the House GOP caucus—Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.)—sit on the otherwise Democrat-dominated panel.
Since its inception, the commission has faced persistent criticism for its overly-partisan behavior.
The committee’s nominal purpose is to uncover the truth about what happened during the Jan. 6 rally at the Capitol, and it has used its self-declared subpoena power to seize the phone and text records of former Trump officials, Fox News hosts, and even a right-of-center Chapman University, in every case without a court-granted warrant.
The panel has made no effort to gather information from Speaker Pelosi who, according to reports, played an instrumental role in leaving the Capitol without adequate defenses, despite repeated requests by the Capitol police chief to bring in National Guardsmen.
During a Jan. 6, 2022, conference call with reporters, Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), and other GOP lawmakers discussed the panel.
“This partisan sham committee is not focused on answering the most important questions of why the Capitol was left unprepared that day and how we can ensure this never happens again,” said Stefanik.
“The American people deserve to know what the mainstream media refuses to cover: The fact that the only office that is off-limits to this partisan sham investigation is Speaker Pelosi’s office.”
On Thursday, Pelosi confirmed that she had not given any information to the committee, even though a series of questions about her involvement remain unanswered.
During a weekly press conference, Pelosi was asked whether she had provided any documents or testimony to the panel.
“No,” Pelosi promptly responded, adding, “I stay as far away from the committee as possible. If they asked me I would,” Pelosi insisted, “but I don’t—I was on the podium [during the Jan. 6 rally] and then I was swept away.”
Republicans have a different theory for why Pelosi has stayed away from the partisan commission.
The Jan. 6 commission, Stefanik said, “is a political weapon, and it’s used to cover up for Nancy Pelosi’s failures.”
The most notable of these failures, GOP critics say, is the role that Pelosi and her appointees had in preparing the Capitol in advance of the event.
Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), the ranking Republican member on the House Administration Committee, which oversees the security of the Capitol, detailed some of these missteps in a Jan. 3 letter addressed to Pelosi.
According to former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, he requested that National Guardsmen be brought in to ensure that the rally went smoothly. Sund claims that Pelosi-appointed Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving rejected the request, citing concerns over the “optics” of bringing Guard personnel into the city.
On another occasion when Sund asked about bringing in the National Guard, Irving reportedly said that “he needed to run it up the chain of command.”
Sund would eventually be forced by Pelosi to resign following the security breakdown on Jan. 6, despite his best efforts to leave the Capitol better prepared.
Davis wrote that “Chief Sund’s assertions highlight the importance of understanding what direction, if any, Mr. Irving received with respect to the preparations and response to the January 6th violence.”
According to Davis and Stefanik, GOP representatives have made several attempts to gain access to Irving’s documents on Jan. 6, but have been denied.
During an appearance on Fox News, GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) discussed how the GOP will treat Jan. 6 if they take back the majority.
“Rodney Davis’s letter is correct,” said McCarthy. “When you watch what Nancy Pelosi has done, she’s politicized this process, [by] not getting to the two main questions: Why was the Capitol so ill-prepared that day, and how do we make sure that nothing like this ever happens again?
“What Rodney is asking for here is the communications between the sergeant at arms and the speaker. And, lo and behold, the speaker says, ‘That will not come forward.’
“[Pelosi] is denying the information that can get us to the answer.”
While Pelosi and her staff were made aware by Capitol Police that a breakdown of order was possible, McCarthy said, “Never were we warned on the Republican side that this [happening] was even possible.”
“There’s a lot of questions here … that need to be answered,” McCarthy said.
Republicans are widely expected to take back the House this year after four years of control by Democrats; If they meet these expectations, Pelosi may find herself subject to the same tactics that the Democrat-led committee has used against Trump and his allies.