House Republican Conference chair Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) kicked off the week by leading a press call Tuesday with conservative media outlets, detailing Republicans’ disapproval of the committee’s activities amid polling showing the majority of Americans are more concerned with issues other than January 6.
“Our members will be all over the media all of this week, during the hearing, after the hearing, rapid response,” Stefanik said. “And we have members from all across the country, all across the House Republican Conference, so we will be pushing back, setting the record straight.”
Recent polling has shown Americans are overwhelmingly concerned with economic issues, such as the cost of groceries and gas. A new NBC News poll found a declining number of Americans believe former President Donald Trump, the committee’s main target, bears responsibility for the January 6 riot. FiveThirtyEight wrote in April, “Americans Are Moving On From Jan. 6 — Even If Congress Hasn’t,” and cited multiple polls.
Stefanik said of Republicans’ media blitz, “Most importantly, we will also be talking about the issues that actually matter to the American people.”
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She noted, “…the border crisis, the inflation crisis, historic gas prices, the baby formula shortage, issues that Democrats won’t even hold a hearing on, let alone have primetime hearings.”
Also featured on the call were Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Republican Study Committee chair Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), and Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA). Jordan and Perry, along with three other Republican congressmembers, were subpoenaed by the committee in May under the claim that those members had “relevant knowledge” to the committee’s investigation.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) established the committee last year to investigate the riot that occurred at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. The committee is, however, mostly Democrat, consisting of seven Democrat members and two Pelosi-appointed Republicans, Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL).
Jordan observed on the call that unlike typical congressional hearings, where Republicans and Democrats both have the opportunity to question witnesses, the members of Pelosi’s committee will not be able to properly cross-examine witnesses because the members “all agree.”
“There’s going to be no cross-examination on any of these hearings because they all agree, and they’ve already reached their conclusion, and now they’re putting on this partisan production and they’ve hired, as I said, the former head of ABC News,” Jordan said, referencing how the committee hired former ABC News President James Goldston to assist with hearing preparation. Goldston led ABC News when the network allegedly quashed stories about Jeffrey Epstein.
In response to Jordan’s charge that the committee would be unable to cross-examine because of its lack of bipartisanship, a spokesman for Cheney pointed to Cheney’s remarks from last July when she lamented that the Senate voted against a “bipartisan independent commission” and said she would press forward with the House committee’s investigation. Cheney said at the time:
The idea that anybody would be playing politics with an attack on the United States Capitol is despicable and is disgraceful. And I am absolutely dedicated and committed to making sure that this investigation holds those accountable who did this and ensures that it never happens again.
Banks, who has led much of Republicans’ messaging through his chairmanship on the study committee, noted on the the call that he is putting “the finishing touches” on an unofficial report that examines security failures from January 6. Banks and Jordan were both appointed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to join Pelosi’s select committee, but Pelosi rejected them, leading McCarthy to refuse all GOP participation on it.
Questions about security “are the kind of questions” Banks had hoped to raise as a member of the committee, he said, “but we were denied the opportunity to do that … because it deviates from the political narrative and the witch hunt that they wanted to create with this committee.”
The Republicans plan to focus their weekly press briefing Wednesday on January 6, and, per a Republican aide, McCarthy is planning to lead a press event Thursday as a prebuttal to the hearing.