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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Elise Stefanik watch Rep. Jim Jordan speak before today's meeting of the Jan. 6 select committee. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rather than winning over House Republicans, the dramatic testimony delivered during the Jan. 6 select committee's first public hearing led them to double down on their criticism that the investigation is purely political.

Why it matters: The remarks signal that regardless of the panel's eventual findings, many Republican lawmakers — most of whom didn't even watch Tuesday's hearing — will dismiss the proceedings as a partisan witch hunt.

Driving the news: Axios spoke with multiple Republican House members following the graphic details laid out by four police officers on-site during the Capitol attack. Several other members avoided questions altogether.

  • While nearly all said they respected the officers who testified, it didn't change their opposition to the committee's investigation.
  • Instead, Republicans continue to rail against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for rejecting two of the five appointments House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) made to the panel.
  • They also told Axios they believe the Democrats' goal is to use the investigation to malign their party and Donald Trump, and blame both for what happened.

Many — including McCarthy and other speakers during a news conference preceding the hearing — tried to shift the focus to the security failures that led to the breach of the Capitol.

  • They blamed Pelosi, who they said was just as much in charge of Capitol security as then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky).
  • Some Republican critics have accused her and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser of being concerned about the optics of a heavy federal law enforcement and military presence following criticism of President Trump's use of such forces to quell Black Lives Matter protests.

What they're saying:

  • Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), who McCarthy initially appointed to serve on the committee before retracting all his picks: "The proof's gonna be in the pudding later when they start asking questions. ... Remember, the security posture was a failure of epic proportions ... because of failures of leadership in this institution."
  • Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), who's running for Senate in Alabama, told Axios' Sarah Mucha: "I haven't given it any substantive thought at all. I've chuckled, on occasion, but what's going on with this group of people that Nancy Pelosi has put together?"
  • Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.): "She kicked Jim Jordan off. It can't be perceived as anything but partisan."
  • Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.): "Speaker Pelosi kicked off her partisan circus. It’s a sad state of affairs when Congress has an opportunity to provide the American people with answers but the authoritarian House Speaker has put her partisan narrative over pursuing the facts."

What we're hearing: Discussions about a potential Republican-led investigation into the events of Jan. 6 have been taking place behind closed-doors.

  • Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), one of those Pelosi kicked off the panel, has been floated to lead it.

Go deeper

Sep 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Shutdown Plan B

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Senate will hold a futile vote Monday night — just 72 hours before a potential shutdown — on a House-passed bill to fund the government through Dec. 3 and raise the debt limit.

Why it matters: The bill is going to fail. Period. But then comes Plan B: A "clean" continuing resolution — stripped of language about raising the debt limit — that Democrats spent the past week preparing, Axios is told.

House coalescing around infrastructure deal

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) is seen leaving a meeting of the House Democratic caucus on Monday. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

House Democrats started Monday to coalesce around a deal to pass President Biden's signature Build Back Better infrastructure package, with progressive opposition weakening and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) seeming to de-link the biggest components of it.

What they're saying: “We can’t be ready to say, 'Until the Senate passes the [$3.5 trillion reconciliation] bill, we can’t do BIF,'" the speaker told House Democrats, using shorthand for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework. She indicated the House would vote on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan bill — focused on roads and bridges — on Thursday.

Sep 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Centrists back $3.5T package

Reps. Vicente Gonzalez (left) and Filemon Vela. Photos: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call and Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Two of the nine House centrists who demanded Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) bring the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill to the floor by Monday are now publicly promising to vote for the separate $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: By explicitly announcing their support for a big package targeting climate change and expanding the social safety net, Reps. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas) and Filemon Vela (D-Texas) are trying to convince progressives to vote for the infrastructure bill this week.