On Jan. 6, 2021, Republican Jim Banks of Indiana, along with 146 of his fellow Republican lawmakers, voted to support the violent efforts of the seditionist mob incited by Donald Trump to attack the U.S. Capitol and overturn the 2020 presidential election. In the aftermath of those attacks, and in connection with the formation of a Congressional Select Committee to investigate the cause and planning of those attacks, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi solicited recommendations by the House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, for persons to serve on that Committee. Banks was one of five members selected by McCarthy along with Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan and three others.
As both Reps. Banks and Jordan have track records of grandstanding, obfuscation, and supporting sedition, Speaker Pelosi correctly assumed that their recommendation was for purposes of disrupting and delaying the Committee’s work. Accordingly, Banks and Jordan were rejected as members of the Select Committee. In an apparent fit of pique, McCarthy then withdrew all five of his proposed panelists.
As reported by Nicole Lafond for TalkingPointsMemo, on Thursday, Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, a member of the Select Committee, requested that a series of letters authored by Rep. Banks be admitted into the record.
These letters would be in support of the Select Committee’s recommendation to hold former Trump campaign chief Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress for his failure to honor a lawful subpoena requesting his testimony. The correspondence had been addressed by Banks to various federal agencies whom the Select Committee has asked to produce documents in support of its investigation. In the letters, Banks misrepresented himself as a member of that Committee and demanded that information produced to the Committee be sent to him as well.
Banks’ correspondence, obtained by Politico congressional reporter Olivia Beavers, was published on Twitter:
Although qualified by the vague assertion that Speaker Pelosi had “refused” to allow him to perform his “duties” as a “Ranking Member” of the Select Committee, Banks’ weasel language about his actual relationship to that the Committee is designed to misrepresent himself as an existing member. He is not and has never been a member of that Committee (with good reason, as this letter shows). It should also be noted (as TPM’s Josh Marshall does here) that prior to establishing the Select Committee, House Republicans were afforded more than ample opportunities to form a joint effort with Democrats in investigating the insurrection of Jan. 6, but they refused to do so.
As reported by Annie Grayer and Zachary Cohen for CNN, it’s not clear whether Banks’ correspondence itself is a violation of the House’s own rules (although misrepresenting yourself as a member of a Congressional Committee to gain access to documents would certainly seem to qualify). Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland has suggested it may be, calling the correspondence letter “delusional and fantastical.” Regardless, it demonstrates the degree of concern and alarm House Republicans feel about what the Select Committee may uncover as it digs into the motivation and logistical support for the Jan. 6 insurrection.
It also demonstrates what should have been clear to all by this time: Republicans will stoop to any tactic, however unethical or illegal, to prevent the American people from knowing exactly what occurred on that day, and why.
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