Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) is urging his party to punish every lawmaker investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol if Republicans take back the majority in 2022.
“When we win back the majority next year, we have a duty as Republicans to hold every member of this committee accountable for this abuse of power, for stepping over the line, by preventing them from being in positions of authority,” Banks told Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Tuesday. “Take them off any committee, get them as far away from positions of power as you can because they’ve shown us that by threatening to do this that they abuse their power, wherever they are.”
This week, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chair of the House select committee investigating the attack, announced he will be asking telecommunications and social media companies to preserve the electronic records of communications of several people, possibly including members of Congress.
Thompson did not name any specific members, even though on Tuesday, Carlson claimed that Banks is “apparently one of the Republicans whose phone records will be grabbed.”
At least two Republicans ― House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) and Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio) ― have acknowledged talking to former President Donald Trump on Jan. 6.
Carlson’s son also works for Banks, a fact he did not disclose ― has not disclosed ― in the numerous times he’s interviewed the congressman.
The committee is investigating what happened on Jan. 6, including Trump’s role in instigating the attack of his supporters on the Capitol. Seven Democrats and two Republicans serve on the panel.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) initially supported an independent investigation of the Jan. 6 attack, modeled on the 9/11 Commission. The legislation passed the House with the help of 35 Republicans, but Senate Republicans blocked it from moving forward. Pelosi instead established a select committee.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) chose three members who had voted against certifying Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election, the cause that fueled the pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6. In fact, Banks was his choice to be the ranking member. McCarthy pulled his picks after Pelosi rejected Banks and Jordan.
Pelosi placed Reps. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), Republicans who have bucked their party and criticized Trump’s role in the riot, on the select committee instead.
Republicans have already punished Cheney for her unwillingness to bow to Trump on the election. They voted to remove her from her leadership position in the caucus after she voted to impeach Trump for his role inciting the Jan. 6 mob and continued to be outspoken in her criticism of him.
McCarthy’s office did not reply when asked for comment on whether Republicans will further go after members on the select committee, as Banks urged.
On July 27, the select committee heard brutal, emotional testimony from four officers who fought to protect the Capitol on Jan. 6. They talked about being taunted with racist slurs and detailed the physical and psychological injuries they suffered.
Banks’ response? He baselessly claimed that Pelosi wrote their testimony.
“Everything that you saw today was carefully scripted by Speaker Pelosi and her staff,” he told Fox News in July. “Even the statements that these police officers read, you could tell at times they didn’t write the statements, they were merely reading them as they stumbled over some of the words that they weren’t familiar with as they were reading.”